As part of efforts to speed implementation of its scheme to improve safety in the country's ready-made garment industry, the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh has hired an interim executive director.

Sustainability consultant Sean Ansett will take up the post until a permanent executive director is recruited in the coming months, the steering committee says.

Ansett, who is the founder and managing partner of London-based At Stake Advisors, is also a former director of corporate responsibility at Burberry and a leader of the global partnerships and corporate responsibility teams at Gap Inc.

He will oversee initial steps in rolling out the Accord, which will include inspections on 1,497 factories.

The legally-binding five-year agreement has so far been signed by 85, largely European, companies including Marks & Spencer, Inditex, Next, H&M, C&S and Benetton.

Its aim is to see independent safety inspections with public reports on all Bangladeshi suppliers used by the signatory companies, mandatory repairs and renovations, the obligation by brands to underwrite the costs of safety upgrades, and repercussions for suppliers that refuse to improve conditions including the termination of business.

Ansett will report directly to the Accord steering committee, a body equally represented by the signatory companies and trade unions.

"Ansett brings considerable International experience in the field of ethical trade to the table, which will allow him to quickly understand the shared objectives of the Accord signatories and the important local stakeholder community in Bangladesh," a statement said.

"He will ensure that progress is made in delivering on the immediate planned activities of the Accord throughout the tenure of his position as interim executive director.