DIRECTORIES publisher Yell said yesterday it had appointed Bob Wigley, ex-chairman of Merrill Lynch’s Europe, Middle East and Africa operations, as its new group chairman.<br /><br />The appointment of the veteran banker comes as the Yellow Pages owner seeks to reassure investors over the stability of its heavily-leveraged balance sheet. <br /><br />The group – which took a £1.3bn writedown last month – said Wigley would join the group on 24 July, following its annual meeting. <br /><br />He will replace Bob Scott, the former Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) director, who said last month he would stand down rather than face a shareholder vote. Investors, who are concerned about Scott’s role in agreeing former RBS chief executive Sir Fred Goodwin’s £17m pension, had threatened to oppose his re-election.<br /><br />But the addition of Wigley to the board will go some way to soothing concerns about the company’s stewardship. Wigley was with Merrill until earlier this year and has held a number of senior corporate and investment banking positions at the firm. Previously, he worked for Morgan Grenfell.<br /><br />He is also deputy chairman of Business in the Community and last year led a report on the competitiveness of the City of London on behalf of Mayor of London, Boris Johnson. <br /><br />He is also chairman of the global advisory board of Oxford University’s Centre for Corporate Reputation and a member of the senior practitioners’ committee of the Financial Services Authority.<br /><br />The City see Wigley’s salary of £250,000 a year, almost £100,000 more than his predecessor’s, as a sign of how much time and attention he will be expected to give to Yell.