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Industry split over merits of M&S restructure

Marks & Spencer’s move to restructure its top team has prompted a mixed reaction, with analysts split over the decision.

This week (June 30) it announced its top team would be overhauled to give multichannel director Laura Wade-Gery and marketing director Patrick Bousquet-Chavanne additional responsibilities, while international director Jan Heere has stepped down.

Under the changes, which took effect immediately, Wade-Gery assumed responsibility for UK retail in addition to her current M&S.com remit. Retail director Sacha Berendji will report into her, having previously reported to chief executive Marc Bolland.

Bousquet-Chavanne has taken responsibility for the international business. Heere, who worked at M&S since 2011, has left to return to Russia, where he previously ran Zara owner Inditex’s operations.

Costas Antimissaris, who is currently international business development director, has been promoted to international director.

General merchandise executive director John Dixon has taken on responsibility for the operating profit of his trading area, as will Wade-Gery and Bousquet-Chavanne. These roles were previously split between various teams and Bolland.

Chief finance officer Alan Stewart is now responsible for the property portfolio. Hugo Adams, currently executive assistant to Bolland, has been promoted to property director and will report to Stewart. He replaces Clem Constantine, who left this spring.

Verdict retail analyst Honor Westnedge said: “[M&S] needed to look at its structure and who was making decisions and get fresh people in to start making different decisions, because what they have been doing for the past few years hasn’t been working and hasn’t turned things around. As long as they have the right people in place to deliver results, it can work.”

However, independent analyst Nick Bubb said: “Who has really won and who has lost, in terms of internal M&S politics, remains to be seen.

“But given the new focus on accountability, it is a surprise, to say the least, to see the two new execs most involved with the botched online relaunch, namely Wade-Gery and Bousquet-Chavanne, getting the most obvious promotions.”

Readers' comments (2)

  • Deliver a website that loses the business lots of money, blame it on "bedding in " and get a promotion. I like that sort of career path ! M and S will only start to sort out its problems when the man at the top goes.

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  • Bolland has to go, but whoever eventually takes over has a mountain to climb, as there is so much wrong with M&S it's hard to know where to start.

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