BOLTON’S Market Place shopping centre has a new manager following the retirement of Rod Neasham after 20 years in charge.

Mr Neasham, aged 67, has been replaced by 44-year-old Nikki Wilson-Cook, who has moved from the role she occupied for three years as manager of the Bolton Debenhams store.

Mr Neasham arrived at the Market Place in 1994 following a career in retail management, which included years of work overseas.

He said: “Things were a little different back then, but it’s been interesting to see the Market Place grow and transform through the years.”

Tim Vaughan, chief executive of UK manager group, Moorgarth, owners of the Market Place added: “It’s been a pleasure to work alongside Rod, he’s well respected in the centre, this is a testament to his hard work through the years.

“I look forward to working with Nikki in the future as the centre is developed into a leisure and retail destination set to revamp the town centre.”

Mrs Wilson-Cook’s first duty as manager was to organise the unveiling of the vaulted restaurant area, which is part of owners Moorgarth’s £15 million redevelopment of the Market Place.

This also includes a complex of subterranean restaurants and bars as well as a nine-screen cinema.

She said: “It is a really exciting time to become manager of the Market Place.

“I am delighted to be part of the team and to being part of something different and special.”

Moving into her shoes at Debenham’s is 37-year-old Pippa Turner, who has formerly managed the firm’s outlets in Manchester city centre and The Trafford Centre.

She started her retail career on the management development programme at John Lewis and has also worked at World Duty Free, Selfidges and Comet before joining Debenhams.