Marks & Spencer make raft of major hires in its food team

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Marks & Spencer has made a raft of changes to senior food team as it aims to re-energise its grocery arm amid stagnant growth and increasing competition.

Its food managing director Stuart Machin has put together a new food team consisting of both internal and external hires.

Former Tesco commercial director George Wright, who was credited with being a key member in the grocer’s overhaul following the 2014 accounting scandal before leaving last month, will join M&S to head up its trading and supply chain from late 2019.

Elsewhere Harrods’ executive head of food innovation April Preston, who has been leading the redevelopment of its food hall since last January, will re-join M&S as product development director next month.

This follows a previous 18-year stint at M&S, where Preston held various roles including head of development.

Other members of the team will be hired internally, including technical director Paul Willgoss, food transformation director Neil Adams, food finance director Nick Hewitt, food marketing director Sharry Cramond and head of trading for meat, fish and poultry Katherine Haenelt.

Product development director and M&S veteran Cathy Chapman, known pioneering ready meals, will depart the business alongside logistics director Syd Reid and food trading director Stuart Forder.

“I am determined to use a mix of great internal talent and impressive new hires to build a winning team to transform M&S Food into a winning business,” Machin said.

“A team geared up for change and united in their common love and passion for creating great-tasting, quality food for our customers. Having the right leaders in place is our first step in the early stages of this transformation plan.

“I’d like to thank Stuart and Syd for their significant contribution to M&S and wish them well for the future. I’d also like to pay tribute to Cathy Chapman.

“From transforming the fresh ready meal market with the chicken Kiev to developing so many award-winning ranges and products, Cathy has pioneered food that has shaped the palettes and tastes of Great Britain. We will miss her enormously, though she will continue to be a great friend to M&S.”

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