Marks & Spencer will ramp up the fashionability of its lingerie following a senior management shake-up.
Lingerie has now been brought under the control of Kate Bostock, who has been promoted to the expanded role of director of womenswear, lingerie and girlswear. Ex-director of lingerie Matt Hudson will now report to Bostock as director of trading for womenswear, lingerie and girlswear.
M&S boss Stuart Rose told Drapers that the move was "extremely important" for its womenswear offer, adding that the new overarching department represented £3 billion of sales - the company's single biggest area outside food.
"Kate will be looking after everything from knickers to outerwear," said Rose. "We will see trends adapted from womenswear with on-trend colours and styles being used within lingerie, where we have a 25% share of the market."
The retailer has appointed former De Vere Group chief executive Carl Leaver as director of international business, replacing Richard Wolff, who is retiring. "We wanted a businessman who could be our ambassador and develop partnerships," said Rose. "I can't be specific about territories, but Carl will be able to look out there and make easy judgements. I wouldn't rule out France."
As part of the management rejig, marketing chief Steven Sharp will no longer look after the store modernisation programme, which passes to group finance director Ian Dyson. Instead, Sharp will now head a new project to look at the next generation of store design.
"We want to keep that leading edge," said Rose. "The store modernisation plan has become a cookie-cutting exercise. Doing nothing is not an option, so when it is complete we want to go back to the first store, which we did in Shoreham-by-Sea in West Sussex in July 2004, to move it on."
Director of retail Anthony Thompson has left the business and been replaced by director of food Guy Farrant. Former Waitrose boss Steven Esom will take on Farrant's role.
It is understood that M&S is no longer looking for an overarching clothing boss. Tesco head of clothing Terry Green had been in talks to take up the post.
However, Rose added that succession planning needed to be addressed.