Al Fayed ends speculation over Harrods PA director

Mohamed Al Fayed has broken his silence over the departure of

Charles Wardle, the public affairs director of his Harrods Group.

In a joint statement Al Fayed and Wardle say the former Tory MP's

decision to resign was due to the need to change the group's public

affairs work in the wake of 11 September.

As director of public affairs Wardle was tasked with developing the

group's international business.

Al Fayed sought to dampen speculation in the press since Wardle's

resignation last week, that the departure was acrimonious: 'Charles is a

great, experienced adviser who understands the interplay between

government and business very well. I respect his views and we will

remain friends.'

Wardle joined the Harrods board last year while still Tory MP for

Bexhill and Rother. But after criticism from party members over his

links with Al Fayed he stood down at the June election, and has since

worked for Al Fayed full time.

Wardle said: 'We have made progress with his (Al Fayed's) international

business but we agree an international PA role liaising with

representatives of other governments has become a very different

proposition since 11 September.'

Harrods media spokesman Michael Mann said Al Fayed has not yet decided

on Wardle's replacement.

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