Marks & Spencer’s retail chief Laura Wade-Gery will not return from maternity leave, a decision that ends her five-year stint at the retailer.
She will vacate her role as one the company’s most senior female directors at the end of the month and has already stepped down from the board.
Wade-Gery went on maternity leave last August and was due back in January, though this was later extended to 31 August. Her responsibilities were handled by chief financial officer Helen Weir in the interim, an arrangement set to continue with the company revealing that no further changes to its executive team are planned following a reshuffle in May.
“On behalf of the board, I would like to thank Laura very much for the significant contribution she has made in her five years at M&S,” Robert Swannell, chairman of Marks and Spencer, is reported to have said. “Laura has been a valued member of the board and instrumental in the improvement and modernisation of our ecommerce and multichannel capabilities. We wish her all the very best for the future.”
During her tenure at the retailer, Wade-Gery steered the relaunch of M&S.com, which attempted to balance its e-commerce core with more of a content-led focus. The strategy stuttered to begin with but in May the company revealed a 23 per cent year-on-year increase in online sales.
M&S poached Wade-Gery from Tesco in 2011, hiring the marketer as executive director for multi-channel ecommerce. At Tesco she headed up its online business.