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    Inditex founder plans to step down as chairman


    Founder of Spain’s Inditex, Amancio Ortega, has proposed that the company’s chief executive, Pablo Isla, replace him as chairman of the world’s biggest clothing retailer.

    The company behind the Zara clothing chain said in a letter sent to its employees that Ortega, 74, will propose Isla, 46, as chairman at the next shareholders’ meeting in July.

    “This new stage, which in reality was initiated over recent years, will show the path for the future, and will combine youth and experience, which, with responsibility and professionalism, lead to doing things properly,” Ortega said.

    Isla will stay on as chief executive, a position he has held since June 2005. Ortega’s handover to Isla was seen as maintaining Inditex’s strategy of international expansion, especially in Asia, and it was welcomed by the market.

    Ortega began his first textile manufacturing operations in 1963, and opened his first Zara shop in 1975 at La Coruna in northwestern Spain, a city that is still home to Inditex’s headquarters. Inditex, opened its 5,000th store last month and posted a net profit of Euro 1.18 billion during the first nine months of 2010, a 42 per cent jump over the same time in the previous year.

    It opened 300 new stores during the first nine months of 2010, including 42 in China, as it brought its worldwide total to 4,907 shops in 77 countries at the end of September.

    – IndiaRetailing Bureau