Cotton shirt maker Esquel Group has appointed Dr John Cheh as its new chief executive officer, starting from 1 January.

In announcing the appointment, Marjorie Yang, chairman and CEO, thanked Dr Cheh for his contributions to the growth of Esquel.

"Esquel is embarking on its next phase of accelerated growth. With John in his new leadership position and a strong Esquel team, we shall march with confidence towards our strategic objectives," said Yang.

Prior to joining Esquel in 2003, Dr Cheh was president of Bombardier Inc.

He previously worked at Canada's Department of External Affairs and International Trade, serving in Beijing, Seoul and Tokyo in senior diplomatic positions, and in 1994 became president, Asia, of Bell Canada International.

Esquel manufactures 70m cotton shirts annually and employs 46,000 workers in China, Malaysia, Vietnam, Sri Lanka and Mauritius.