By Keri Algar

SYDNEY, NSW: Less than a year since his scandalous departure from DJs, McInnes has been appointed to oversee the Premier Investments retail portfolio and have direct responsibility for the Just Group, incorporating Jay Jays, Peter Alexander, Jacqui-E, Just Jeans, Portmans, Dotti and Smiggle.

The $2 million position (plus bonus incentive plans) will see McInnes relocate to Melbourne where he will commence his contract on 4 April 2011.

According to Premier, McInnes is one of Australia’s most successful retailers with a track record of operational improvements and “value creation” for shareholders. Premier’s chairman, Solomon Lew, echoed this sentiment saying he was pleased to bring McInnes to the Premier team.

“I am very much looking forward to working with him both to improve the performance of Just Group, Australia’s largest specialty retailer and to grow Premier’s retail assets,” said Lew.

“Mark is one of Australia’s most successful retailers and was responsible for transforming David Jones and creating substantial shareholder value.”

In today’s half year announcement the investment company reported group sales of $458.4 million – flat when compared to the same 26 week period in 2010 and down 3 per cent on the 27 weeks ended 30 January 2010. The company said the result was significantly impacted by a disappointing result from Just Group.

Outside Just Group, Premier said earnings had improved strongly, with a strong dividend income from its investment in the Breville Group.

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In October last year the $37 million sexual harassment lawsuit – Australia’s biggest – that was launched against McInnes and the David Jones group by ex-publicist Kristy Fraser-Kirk, was settled for $850,000.