Brian McLaughlin, COO of British retailer HMV Group plc, has postponed his planned retirement at the end of the year. Instead, he has added responsibilities as acting managing director of Waterstone's

Brian McLaughlin, COO of British retailer HMV Group plc, has postponed his planned retirement at the end of the year. McLaughlin was due to step aside from the company Dec. 31 after 36 years and take a non-executive director role. Instead, he has added responsibilities as acting managing director of Waterstone's, the London-based group's books division.

McLaughlin's about-face was brought about by the departure of Waterstone's managing director David Gilbert, who has resigned from the post due to ill health. An HMV spokesman says McLaughlin will continue in those duties for "an indefinite period."

In a statement issued today (Oct. 13) to the London stock exchange, Gilbert says his health problems had prevented him from being able to "carry out my duties fully". A veteran of the British retail sector, Gilbert joined HMV Group in April 2004 after 23 years' service with U.K. electrical goods chain Dixons Group, latterly as COO.

McLaughlin was appointed COO in January 2001.

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