Marks & Spencer has poached Next’s head of menswear design, Simon Hawksworth, to replace Tony O’Connor, who left at the beginning of the year, Drapers has learned.
Hawksworth, who has worked at Next since April 2012, is expected to join M&S in the same role this summer at a date to be confirmed.
He was previously creative director at design agency Goose Design from October 2008 to April 2012 and design director at Ben Sherman from September 2002 to December 2007. Before that he headed up design at young fashion brand Sonneti for just under two years.
O’Connor started his career at Next, joining the retailer as assistant designer in 1990 and rising to head of design before he left in 2001 to work for Moss Bros as creative director. He joined M&S as head of menswear design in June 2008.
Drapers understands O’Connor left M&S last month to explore other opportunities, but his plans are unknown.
A spokesman for M&S said: “We are delighted Simon will be joining us as head of menswear design. He brings with him a wealth of valuable design experience and we look forward to welcoming him to the team.
“We’d like to thank Tony for his significant contribution to M&S and wish him all the best for the future.”
In January last year, M&S announced the appointment of Next buying manager Paula Bonham-Carter as head of buying for womenswear and Next lingerie and nightwear buyer Laura Charles as head of buying for lingerie. M&S lingerie and beauty director Jo Jenkins joined from Next in 2013.
M&S also appointed brothers Mark and Neal Lindsey – previously responsible for the growth of Next Sourcing – as sourcing directors for general merchandise in March 2014.