Autogrill duty free unit names ex-Goldman, Merrill banker as CFO ahead of listing

MADRID Thu Aug 22, 2013 9:06am EDT

MADRID Aug 22 (Reuters) - Airport retailer World Duty Free Group (WDFG) on Thursday named former Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch banker David Jimenez-Blanco as chief financial officer ahead of its split from Italy's Autogrill planned for October.

WDFG has grown through acquisitions and the absorption of Spanish travel retailer Aldeasa and has over 550 stores in airports and other locations in 20 countries.

Autogrill, whose catering business has been badly hit by reduced motorway traffic during the recession, hopes the flotation in Milan will pave the way for possible tie-ups by both companies.

Jimenez-Blanco has previously been responsible for U.S. investment bank Merrill Lynch's business in Spain and Portugal and was also head of investment banking for Goldman Sachs in the two countries, WDFG said.

A specialist in mergers and acquisitions, the Spaniard has been a partner at emerging market--focused investment management firm BK Partners since 2010. (Reporting by Sarah White; Editing by David Cowell)

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