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Next retains M&S-bound design boss

Next has retained its head of menswear design, Simon Hawksworth, who was due to join Marks & Spencer in the same role later this month.

Hawskworth had been appointed to replace Tony O’Connor, who left M&S at the beginning of the year to explore other opportunities.

He had been working out his notice since the appointment was announced in January. However, he has now decided to continue at Next in a “different and wider” role. Next declined to confirm what the role is.

A spokeswoman for M&S confirmed Hawksworth will not be joining. She said a replacement has yet to be found, but added: “There is a great interim menswear design team in place.”

Drapers understands Next chief executive Lord Simon Wolfson made Hawksworth an offer he couldn’t refuse to bring a halt to M&S’s habit of poaching his top staff.

Next buying manager Paula Bonham-Carter joined M&S as head of buying for womenswear and Next lingerie and nightwear buyer Laura Charles became head of buying for lingerie at M&S in January 2014.

Next womenswear product director Jo Jenkins left after 15 years to join M&S as lingerie and beauty director in June 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.

@Tara_Hounslea

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