ASHLEY SAID CLOSE TO NAMING ANN IVERSON CHIEF EXECUTIVE

LONDON--Laura Ashley Holdings PLC reportedly is about to appoint Ann Iverson its new chief executive. Iverson is president and chief executive of American toy retailer Kay-Bee Toy & Hobby Stores, a unit of Melville Corp. A Laura Ashley spokesman declined to comment on the report, which was carried in The Sunday Times here. Iverson's office at Kay-Bee's headquarters in Pittsfield, Mass., said Monday that she was traveling and unreachable.
Currently, Iverson is a nonexecutive director of Laura Ashley. She previously worked in the UK as chief executive of the Mothercare children's wear chain and stores director of its parent Storehouse PLC. Before that, she was with Bonwit Teller, Bloomingdale's and U.S. Shoe Corp.
Laura Ashley has been without a chief executive for more than a year, since Jim Maxmin resigned. Its chairman, Hugh Blakeway Webb, recently said that he planned to leave the company as soon as a new chief executive was found. At that time a spokesman said the company expected to announce an appointment in the near future.

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