M&S unveils new fashion & home leadership team

M&S store closures

Marks & Spencer has unveiled a new clothing and home leadership team that will be responsible for overhauling the retailer’s non-food division as part of its transformation plan.

Clothing and home managing director Jill McDonald has merged the retailer’s womenswear and kidswear teams and appointed Jill Stanton to the new role of womenswear and kidswear director.

Stanton, who will start in July, is experienced in commercial and product retail and has delivered radical change programmes at Next, Dewhirst and Nike where she had global responsibility for clothing.

Most recently, she was executive vice president at Old Navy where she was a key member of the turnaround team and acted as interim president.

Belinda Earl, who has most recently been covering womenswear on an interim basis since Jo Jenkins left earlier this year, is stepping away from her commercial role with the retailer but will continue to work in an advisory role and sit on the board of the M&S Archive.

She will hand over her womenswear responsibilities to Stanton over the summer.

Meanwhile, menswear expert Wes Taylor will join as menswear director in May.

He has over 30 years’ experience in fashion retailing, having progressed through Arcadia to lead the Burton business as managing director for 11 years.

Working alongside Stanton and Taylor will be Laura Charles and Neil Harrison.

Charles has been a key member of the team driving M&S’s lingerie position since 2014, and is promoted to the new position of lingerie director.

Meanwhile, Harrison – who has 20 years of M&S experience – is currently driving the strategy for growth as home director and will pick up additional responsibility for beauty.

The new appointments were brought about after current menswear and kidswear director Michael Kerr resigned after 35 years, while current womenswear and lingerie design director Queralt Ferrer is also leaving the business.

Consequently, responsibility for design will be integrated into the business units.

“M&S Clothing is transforming. We’re crystal clear on the challenge,” McDonald said.

“We must become more relevant to more people offering the right products at the right prices to appeal to our core customers and attract new ones.

“Jill and Wes are highly impressive retailers with strong track records of success at other high-profile brands and will bring this invaluable experience to M&S. We now have the right leadership team in place to get on and deliver change.”

The news comes less than a week after M&S poached Steinhoff UK’s group chief executive Stuart Machin to take on the newly-created role of food managing director to help overhaul the retailer’s food arm as part of its transformation plan.

Machin joins M&S in late April and will work closely alongside McDonald and chief financial officer designate Humphrey Singer, who will join the later this year.

The trio will report to chief executive Steve Rowe.

Rowe’s overall transformation strategy – initially announced in November 2016 and accelerated when retail veteran Archie Norman joined as chairman a year later – includes plans to reposition around 25 per cent of M&S clothing and home space through a combination of closures, downsizes, relocations and conversions to food-only stores.

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