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Marks & Spencer hires Inditex man to lead expansion overseas

Marks & Spencer has drafted in Inditex director Jan Heere as its international director.

Heere heads Inditex’s Russian business at present, and at Marks & Spencer will become a member of the retailer’s mangement committee reporting to chief executive Marc Bolland.

The appointment, following the poaching of Laura Wade-Gery from Tesco to become Marks & Spencer’s multichannel supremo, completes the key hirings needed to deliver the retailer’s new strategy.

The retailer said: With an extensive international background gained over 10 years in retail, Jan brings a wealth of experience to the position.

“Jan has worked for Inditex in a number of international roles, mostly recently in Russia where in the last five years he has grown Inditex’s presence from some 20 stores to more than 170 stores employing around  4,500 people.”

Bolland said: “Jan’s impressive international experience fits well with the international growth plans we outlined in November.”

Heere has mixed Spanish and Dutch heritage, was educated in France and is fluent in English, Spanish, French, Dutch and Russian.

Overseas expansion is a pillar of Bolland’s growth plans, and he intends to increase overseas sales to as much as £1bn by 2013/14 from about £500m now.

Marks & Spencer formerly had a big business in continental Europe which it shut at the start of the last decade - widely viewed as a mistake. Under Bolland’s predecessor Sir Stuart Rose international growth was kick-started again with a focus on emerging markets such as India and China.

Bolland said at in November that he intended to build “leadership positions” in priority markets. He is thought to have secured a store on the Champs-Elysees in Paris as a flagship.

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