Women's apparel specialty chain Christopher & Banks has decided to move up the date on which Matthew Dillon will succeed Joe Pennington as chief executive officer to 1 January 2007, two months earlier than originally planned.

Dillon, who will also succeed Pennington as a director of the Minneapolis, Minnesota-based chain, will continue as president of the firm.

Dillon joined C&B as executive vice president and chief merchandising officer in May 2005 and was promoted to president one year ago. Earlier he spent four years at Coldwater Creek, the multichannel women's retailer, where his last title was vice president of merchandising. He's also been with Mark Group, Bear Creek and Spiegel.

In other news, the company doubled the authorisation for stock repurchases to US$40m.

Christopher & Banks operates 524 stores under its flagship brand, 218 CJ Banks stores and 37 Acorn stores in 45 states in the US.
 By Arnold J Karr.