M&S appoints Katie Bickerstaffe to chief strategy & transformation director

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M&S appoints Katie Bickerstaffe to chief strategy & transformation director
Katie Bickerstaffe will be responsible for developing & overseeing the delivery of M&S's strategic transformation programmes. (Image: Danny Lawson/PA Wire)
// Katie Bickerstaffe joins M&S’s executive team as chief strategy and transformation director
// She is currently a non-executive director on M&S’s board
// Bickerstaffe replaces Melanie Smith, who is now CEO of Ocado Retail

Marks & Spencer has appointed non-executive director Katie Bickerstaffe to chief strategy and transformation director, as the retailer steps up the pace of its turnaround scheme.

In her new role, Bickerstaffe will be responsible for developing and overseeing the delivery of M&S’s strategic transformation programmes, which aim to bring the heritage retailer back to profitability after several periods of decline.

She will work four days a week while also serving on the board and operating committee as an executive director.


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Bickerstaffe joins office on April 27, replacing former strategy director Melanie Smith who has moved on to become chief executive of Ocado Retail.

“Katie has been a great help to me and the wider management team in her role as a non-executive director and I am delighted that she will now be part of the executive team,” M&S chief executive Steve Rowe said.

“Her experience in leading roles at UK food and non-food retailers and track record of delivering large-scale change will be invaluable as we accelerate our transformation.”

Bickerstaffe said: “I’m really looking forward to working with the management team to step-up the pace of the transformation.”

She is the former SSE Energy Services executive chair and prior to that she worked at Dixons Carphone for 10 years, working her way up to chief executive until she left in April 2018.

She has also had stints with Kwik Save, PepsiCo, Unilever, Dyson and Somerfield, where she was retail managing director.

In her new role at M&S, Bickerstaffe will lead the strategy team, M&S Bank and energy teams and IT.

The news comes less than a month after M&S raided the senior ranks of both Asda and Sainsbury’s Argos to fill in two new roles within its retail, operations and property leadership team.

Helen Milford was poached from Sainsbury’s Argos, where she was retail director, to join M&S in a similar role.

Meanwhile Will Smith joined from Asda, where he was currently vice president of real estate, facilities and market development, to become M&S’s new property director.

They will also both report to M&S retail, operations and property director Sacha Berendji.

M&S has also poached Topshop’s trading director Helen Wilson to become its new head of merchandising for womenswear.

Other executives from Arcadia Group have joined M&S in the past year.

Topshop fashion director Maddy Evans joined at the end of 2019 in a senior buying role, and Arcadia creative director Anthony Cassidy will become M&S’s head of brand creative this spring.

Also in December, M&S hired Paul Babbs to be its new chief supply chain officer and appointed David Surdeau as its interim chief financial officer to replace Humphrey Singer, who stepped down on December 31.

Meanwhile, last November M&S appointed the boss of Tesco’s fashion division, F&F, Richard Price as its new clothing and home managing director, replacing Jill McDonald who was ousted earlier in the year.

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