Marks and Spencer‘s multi-channel director Laura Wade-Gery has been promoted to UK retail director as M&S embraces the omni-channel retail model.
It is the first time in the businesses history that a female executive will run its retail business.
Wade-Gery headed up Tesco.com before joining M&S in 2011 and will be responsible for M&S.com and UK retail. M&S retail director Sacha Berendji will report into her.
The news has led to reports that Wade-Gery could eventually succeed CEO Marc Bolland for the top job at M&S.
The retailer was struck a blow as international director Jan Heere who has led its overseas strategy since May 2011 quit to return to Russia. He has been swiftly replaced by Costas Antimissaris who speaks four languages.
Marc Bolland, M&S chief executive, said: “Over the last three years, we have worked hard to transform M&S into an international, multi-channel retailer that is fit for the future of retail. We now have the right infrastructure in place to take our business forward, and as we enter the next phase of our plan, we need to make sure our team structures and internal processes allow us to move with pace, simplicity and speed.”
Bolland saw his pay packet slashed by 25 per cent as general merchandise sales continue to fall. But online sales were up 22 per cent – ahead of the overall market. International sales rose 6.2 per cent as M&S opened 55 new stores in the year.