Marchpole, the Yves St Laurent menswear licensee, yesterday appointed John Gilliatt its new non-executive chairman, the Financial Times reported.

The company, which also reported interim results, said Mr Gilliatt, formerly chief executive of Claremont Garments, was recommended by Seymour Pierce, its new stockbroker. Mr Gilliatt is also a non-executive of Zoa Corporation and held a number of senior appointments at United Biscuits, including managing director of McVitie's and Ross Young's.

At Marchpole's annual meeting, Harold Tillman headed a group of shareholders, which owns some 43 per cent of the company, in attempts to get one of the group, Andrew Mackenzie, appointed as a non-executive.

However, Khosrow Tahmasebi, deputy chairman and finance director, said: "The plan was not in accordance with the company's articles of association, which require proposed resolutions to be made seven days prior to the AGM. It would require an EGM."

In the half to September 30, Marchpole reported a fall in turnover to £13.3m ($14.8). Pre-tax profit halved to £825,000 ($1.66m) and the company warned that margins would be under pressure in the second half.

Marchpole also incurred exceptional charges of some £900,000. These included a settlement with a former sales director who was not re-elected, legal and professional fees relating to a demand for a settlement from a former chief executive, and the termination of agreements with Tomasz Starzweski.

The company has agreed to enter into mediation over the unexpired period of the service agreement between it and Michael Morris, the former chief executive. Mediation is scheduled for February.

Earnings per share were 0.5p (1p). The shares dipped 1/4p to close at 9 1/2p.

About Marchpole Holdings
Marchpole Holdings plc designs, sources and distributes menswear. The company primarily distributes, under licence, 'Yves Saint Laurent' menswear products, this business is complimented by the Jasper Conran label. In 1997 the company acquired an exclusive licence to distribute 'Yves Saint Laurent' boyswear and shoes and a five year licence to distribute 'Yves Saint Laurent' casualwear in Japan.