Australia's Billabong names new chairman

MELBOURNE, Oct 9 (Reuters) - Australian surfwear retailerBillabong International Ltd , which is fending off a$700 million private equity bid, said on Tuesday it hasappointed former fashion executive Ian Pollard as chairman toguide a turnaround.

TPG Capital Management LP has spent six weeksexamining the books of Billabong, but last week expressedconcerns to the company about what it has found, with mediareports suggesting TPG may drop its offer.

Current Billabong chairman Ted Kunkel, who previouslyannounced plans to step down, presided over a rapid debt-fuelledexpansion before the global financial crisis hit. Billabongrejected a higher takeover offer from TPG in February worth $904million.

Pollard is a past chairman of Just Group, the owner ofseveral youth-oriented fashion retail chains including JustJeans, Dotti and JayJays. Just has since been taken over byPremier Investments Ltd .

"Ian will bring a strong mix of commercial and financialexpertise to assist with the ongoing transformation of theBillabong business," Kunkel said in a statement.

Billabong has said it is pursuing a four-year overhaul ofits business to combat sliding sales and profits.

Pollard will join the board as chairman elect after theannual shareholders' meeting on Oct. 24.

(Reporting by Victoria Thieberger; Editing by Richard Pullin)

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