German sportswear company Puma has named Melody Harris-Jensbach to its management board where she will be responsible for product development, design, and worldwide sourcing.

Harris-Jensbach, previously international product director women at Esprit where she was responsible for the global business division woman's casual, the largest segment of Esprit Holding, will take up the post from 1 January.

She will take over the position from Martin Gaensler, who will, as announced in November 2006, retire from his areas of responsibility during the course of the year.

Over his 25-year career with Puma, Gaensler has served as a member of the board since 1993 and since 1998 as vice chairman.

Jochen Zeitz, CEO and chairman of Puma, said: "With the appointment of Melody Harris-Jensbach we are delighted to not only have an excellent manager on board but also for the first time a female member joining the Puma board of management.

"With her comprehensive experience and know-how in managing brands from the lifestyle and premium segment she will further strengthen the Puma team and also contribute in supporting Puma's company strategy to become one of the most desirable sportlifestyle companies."

Earlier this month Puma's board recommended to shareholders a buyout bid from luxury goods group PPR worth EUR5.3bn (US$7.17bn).