Sanctuary Group plc's search for a non-executive chairman is over. The independent music firm today (April 4) confirmed the appointment of esteemed British executive Bob Ayling to the post.

Sanctuary Group plc's search for a non-executive chairman is over. The independent music firm today (April 4) confirmed the appointment of esteemed British executive Bob Ayling to the post.

The London-based company last November kicked-off a recruitment drive for a new non-executive chairman after its co-founder Andy Taylor announced intentions to switch from his executive chairmanship into the CEO role. Ayling's appointment is expected to free up Taylor to concentrate on running the operational side of the business. The incoming executive will strengthen the "City facing" side of the firm.

Sanctuary had a non-executive chairman in David Marshall until three years ago, when Marshall retired and Taylor shifted from CEO to executive chairman. Merck Mercuriadis was appointed group CEO in December 2004; he was recently named director, head of creative strategy.

Ayling, a qualified solicitor with more than 20 years' corporate experience, is best known for having helmed British Airways plc as chief executive from 1992 to 2000.

In addition, he is also currently vice-chairman of vacuum cleaner manufacturer Dyson and chairman of European specialist vacation firm Holidaybreak.

Commenting in a statement, Ayling said his priorities are to "ensure proper standards of corporate governance and financial transparency and ensure the group delivers appropriate levels of performance." With the new board in place, he says, "I am optimistic that we can achieve these goals, although it may take time to do so."

Ayling takes a place on the company's board alongside Taylor, finance director Paul Wallace, chair of the remuneration committee Tina Sharp and non-executive Director Johnny Greenall. Holidaybreak director James Wallace also joins the Sanctuary board as senior independent non-executive director/chairman of the audit committee.

In a statement issued today, Taylor says the appointments "strengthen the board significantly" and will "provide the additional controls, governance and guidance that should allow the group to deliver improved performance."

Another non-executive director will be appointed in "due course," the firm adds in the statement.

Sanctuary recently announced completed a £110 million ($195 million) fundraising lifeline, which will repair the company's debt-heavy balance sheet.

In other news, Sanctuary's board is proposing to appoint KPMG Audit Plc as company auditors. The decision is subject to shareholder approval at the company's annual general meeting on April 28.