M&S chief executive Marc Bolland is to retire in April and will be succeeded by Steve Rowe, who is currently executive director of general merchandise.
Bolland will remain in his role and on the board until the end of the current financial year on April 2 and will then hand over to Rowe. He will then assist with the transition until June 30.
Rowe has been with M&S for 25 years and a board member since 2012, when he became executive director of food. In July this year, he became executive director of general merchandise.
No successor for Rowe has been appointed as yet.
The news comes as M&S also announced this morning that general merchandise sales fell by 5% for the 13 weeks ending December 26, as like-for-like sales fell 5.8% due to unseasonal conditions and problems with availability.
Bolland said of his retirement: “It has been a huge honour to lead one of Britain’s most iconic companies. I am delighted to handover to Steve Rowe as my successor. I have worked closely with Steve for six years and I am convinced that he will be a great leader for Marks & Spencer. I would like to thank all my colleagues and the board at Marks & Spencer for being so supportive of the drive to prepare M&S for the future. I am proud to leave such a large group of talent behind in the business.”
Robert Swannell, M&S Group chairman, added: “Over the last six years Marc Bolland has led Marks & Spencer through a period of necessary change. Over this time, the company has made significant investment in enhanced infrastructure and capabilities.
“It is now positioned for a digital age, with its own online platform and dedicated ecommerce distribution centre, improved design and sourcing capabilities in general merchandise and an industry-leading track record of growth and innovation in the food business. Marc has put Plan A at the heart of the business and leaves a strong sustainability legacy. The board is very grateful to Marc for his leadership in this important period of enhancing Marks & Spencer’s competitive position for its future.
“I am delighted that, after the most rigorous succession planning, Marc will be succeeded by Steve Rowe. Steve has a deep knowledge of Marks & Spencer and a proven track record of delivering results in key parts of the business. The Nomination Committee was unanimous in supporting Steve’s appointment in the light of his considerable knowledge of the business and its people, his appetite to continue the process of change, particularly in general merchandise, his perceptive and effective problem solving, his values and his observed leadership.“
Rowe has said: “It is a great privilege to be appointed CEO of Marks & Spencer and to have the opportunity to lead this unique company and all its people forward.”