// M&S seeking for a new finance chief to replace Humphrey Singer
// Singer is due to leave office in less than a week
Marks and Spencer is reportedly searching for a finance chief to replace Humphrey Singer, less than a week before he officially resigns from the embattled high street retailer.
M&S is preparing to install an interim chief finance officer in the coming days after concluding that an initial shortlist of permanent replacements had failed to produce an acceptable candidate, Sky News reported.
Singer joined the retailer in July 2018, and was a key part of the management team assembled by chief executive Steve Rowe.
M&S announced more than three months ago that Singer was stepping down less than a year-and-a-half after he joined from Dixons Carphone.
The announcement of Singer’s departure came just two months after M&S ousted clothing chief Jill McDonald.
Since then, Tesco’s Richard Price has been drafted in to replace McDonald.
The M&S board, led by retail veteran Archie Norman, is to decide whether drafting in an outsider to take on the role temporarily is the right option.
That decision would depend upon the progress of the search for a long-term successor to Singer, according to city sources.
An announcement is expected on or before M&S updates the stock market on January 9.
Meanwhile, the finance chief of paper and packaging group DS Smith, Adrian Marsh, is reportedly being considered for the permanent role.
M&S’ struggles reflect the UK high street’s embattled year, as Boxing Day footfall across the retail sector collapsed to its lowest level in a decade thanks to poor weather and the shift towards online shopping.
The retailer’s relegation from the FTSE 100 – 35 years after the index was established – indicated its declining fortunes.
M&S now has a market value of £4.25 billion, having seen its shares slip by six per cent during the last year.