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John Dixon to head up Australia’s David Jones

Former Marks & Spencer head of general merchandise John Dixon is moving to Australia to become chief executive of department store chain David Jones.

Dixon left M&S in July after almost 30 years to take up a chief executive role elsewhere, but his new employer was not disclosed at the time.

He will now lead 38-store David Jones, which has been likened to the more premium elements of John Lewis and Selfridges in the UK and stocks brands including Hugo Boss, Diesel and Calvin Klein. Dixon will replace current chief executive Iain Nairn, who is resigning after 14 months in the role for personal reasons.

Nairn will stay in the business for the next three months to ensure a “seamless handover”.

Dixon, who will start his new role in January, said: “It’s a substantial business in its own right and lies at the heart of Australian society. It’s a privilege to take on such a role and I am hugely excited by the future possibilities for growth and continuing to be the preeminent department store business. I’m thoroughly looking forward to the challenge and my family and I are looking forward to living in Sydney. It’s a perfect fit for me.”

Ian Moir, group chief executive of David Jones’ parent company Woolworths Holdings added: “John’s appointment reflects our long term strategy to take the David Jones business to the next level. John is a world class retailer who brings with him a powerful combination of international food and fashion expertise supported by large scale retail systems and management experience. We have known John for many years through our close relationship with M&S and know him to be an inspiring and resilient leader who has traded successfully through the most difficult and competitive of conditions in the UK.”

Dixon joined M&S as a management trainee in 1986 and worked his way up the business. By 2002 he was heading up the fresh food trading division. He progressed to director of M& in 2007 and in 2008 also became director for home.

In July 2008 he was appointed director of food, and a promotion to executive director of food followed in 2009.

He became executive director of the retailer’s general merchandise division - which is mainly clothing - in October 2012.

He has now been replaced at M&S by Steve Rowe, the former executive director for food.

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