High street retailer and news wholesaler WH Smith has appointed Kate Swann as its new group chief executive.

Swann will replace Richard Handover but WHS anticipates that Handover will carry out his role until the AGM in January 2005. Handover will then become chairman following the retirement of Martin Taylor.

Swann is currently the managing director of high street catalogue retailer Argos with whom she has a six-month notice contract.