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M&S chief financial officer steps down to join Tesco

Tesco has poached Marks & Spencer’s chief finance officer Alan Stewart, just days after being given additional responsibility for the retailer’s property portfolio.

Stewart stepped down from the board today, though his final date has not been confirmed. M&S said it was already looking for a successor.

He will replace Laurie Mcllwee, who announced his departure from Tesco in April. Stewart will be paid a basic annual salary of £750,000 and granted replacement share awards worth £1.74m in lieu of his deferred share awards from M&S, which he will forfeit when he leaves.

The news comes two days after M&S revealed its 12th consecutive quarter of declines in general merchandise.

It is also less than a fortnight after M&S announced he was taking on a wider remit as part of a wider restructure of its top team, which also boosted the roles of multichannel director Laura Wade-Gery and marketing director Patrick Bousquet-Chavanne.

Stewart started his career in investment banking with HSBC, before joining Thomas Cook Holdings as chief financial in 1998 and being promoted to UK chief executive in 2001. He was group chief financial officer of WHSmith for three years and aircraft leasing business AWAS, before moving to M&S in 2010.

Philip Clarke, chief executive of Tesco, said: “When we set out on this search we wanted a candidate who had the right blend of experience, leadership and values to play a leading role in the transformation of Tesco. We have found all three in Alan.”

Stewart will also join the board of alcoholic beverages company Diageo as non-executive director in September 2014.

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