Former Wal-Mart Europe chief Allan Leighton has been appointed second-in-command at BhS, the retail chain that was acquired by entrepreneur Philip Green from Storehouse earlier this year.

Leighton will work part-time with Terry Green, the Debenhams supremo who was poached by Philip Green in September.

Philip Green, who is based in Monaco and bought BhS for £200m, said yesterday: "BhS now has a formidable management team in place which reflects our intention to make this company into the most outstanding force in the retail market place."

City analysts said Leighton's appointment, following so quickly on from that of Terry Green, a retailing guru credited with reinventing department store Debenhams as an aspirational clothing seller, was partly behind the jitters in the M&S share price yesterday. M&S shares closed down 13p at 185p, off over 6 per cent, the second-biggest loser in the FTSE 100 index.

Some retail specialists believe that Philip Green is looking to damage M&S rather than stage another takeover bid: "Philip Green is out to damage them. The problems M&S have at the moment have been without any counter attack from BhS. Now I believe that M&S will be well and truly on the rack."

However, this view was not universal. Richard Perks, a senior analyst at Retail Intelligence, poured scorn on the suggestion that BhS could seriously affect M&S's health: "M&S is around eight times the size of BhS. Matalan is much more likely to be a cause for concern."

Leighton seems to share the same opinion: "M&S is a long way off our radar. We will compete, but we will be focused on our own business."
He will be spending two days a week at the BhS head office as executive chairman. "I am really looking forward to working with all my new colleagues at BhS to rebuild, reinvent and renew the business," he said.

Richard Perks believes that Leighton and Green have a testing time ahead: "BhS has got a huge amount to do. It has never really convinced consumers that it fits into the middle ground between M&S and retailers such as Matalan, and whether Allan Leighton can make much of an impact working only two days a week is open to question."