Marks & Spencer’s international director Jan Heere is poised to stand down later this year, creating further challenges for the company as it looks to establish itself as a global player.
Heere, who was one of chief executive Marc Bolland’s first big hires, is thought to be mulling a role outside the UK.
Before that he was managing director at Inditex for more than five years, although he has worked at the Zara parent company for more than nine years in total.
A spokesman for M&S said it was “just speculation” that Heere was leaving.
“We have a highly talented team at M&S, of course other businesses will be interested in our people, just like we always keep an eye on external talent,” he added. “Jan Heere has not resigned and we have nothing further to say on this matter.”
In M&S results published this week, international sales were up 6.2% to £1.15bn in the year to March 29, although the company has had to write off £22m partly as a result of closing a handful of stores in China and the Czech Republic.
It also had to close four stores in Ireland, which cost £24.1m, and shut “legacy logistics sites” in the country, costing £53.2m.
It opened 55 new stores in the period, and now trades from 455 stores across 54 territories.