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Marks and Spencers

M&S’ marketing shake-up hopes to fix ailing general merchandise division once and for all

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By Jennifer Faull, Deputy Editor

May 12, 2016 | 3 min read

Marks and Spencer has simplified its management structure in a bid to drive speedier decision making and “move the business closer to its customers.”

Top marketer Patrick Bousquet-Chavanne has been promoted to executive director of customer, marketing and M&S.com in the shakeup, giving him full responsibility for the website and Plan A, the retailer’s sustainability programme.

Bousquet-Chavanne was previously executive director of marketing and international, however the international business will now be handled by chief executive Steve Rowe.

Elsewhere Helen Weir, the chief finance officer, has assumed responsibility for strategy implementation.

It remains to be seen what responsibilities will now fall on Laura Wade-Gery, who previously managed M&S.com as executive director of multichannel. She is on maternity leave until September and the business will give an update on her return.

“On my first day as chief executive, I committed to putting M&S customers at the heart of everything we do,” said Rowe. “These changes reflect this; a simpler management structure with a smaller, more focused team running M&S will lead to more efficient decision making and move us closer to our customers.”

On the back of the management restructure, M&S has set up an 'Operating Committee' which will be accountable for the day-to-day running of the business as well as for the development and execution of strategy – starting with the struggling general merchandise division. Sales for general merchandise were down 1.9 per cent in the fourth quarter.

“The new 'Operating Committee' will be working together to improve M&S, starting with fixing our clothing and home offer for our customers, our employees and our shareholders,” said Rowe.

The committee will comprise the executive directors as well as the directors of food (Andy Adcock); Womenswear, lingerie & beauty (Jo Jenkins); retail (Sacha Berendji); international (Paul Friston); communications & investor relations (Dominic Fry); human resources (Simmone Haywood); and the group secretary & head of corporate governance (Amanda Mellor).

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