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M&S director fired over 'racist language’

Marks & Spencer has fired the head of its new loyalty scheme, Suzanna Broer, for allegedly using racist language.

Broer, who joined M&S as global director for loyalty and insight in 2014, was sacked on the grounds of gross misconduct in mid-November, a month after the Sparks reward card was launched.

The retailer would not comment on an individual case but in a statement said: “Marks & Spencer does not tolerate any form of discrimination in the workplace.

”We pride ourselves on being an equal opportunities employer and aim to create an inclusive and supportive environment across all of our workplaces at every level of our organisation. We will always take all the necessary steps to protect our employees from discrimination of any kind.”

Broer joined M&S from Dutch retailer Albert Heijn, where she was director of customer loyalty from 2012 to 2014. 

Before that she was director of consumer business insight at Albert Heijn’s parent company, Dutch supermarket operator Ahold, for a year. Previous employers include food business Danone.

She has been replaced at M&S by Nathan Ansell, previously head of marketing for food.

Broer is the third M&S director to leave the retailer in the last six months, following the departures of John Dixon, boss of general merchandise, in July and Francis Russell, the head of womenswear, in August.

M&S’s executive director of multichannel Laura Wade-Gery has extended her maternity leave by eight months. Wade-Gery, one of the retailer’s most experienced directors, was due to return to work in January, but will now take a full year’s leave, returning to the firm on September 1.

M&S’s quarterly trading update is due on January 7.

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