Marks & Spencer expands CFO remit amid board reshuffle

MARKS & SPENCER has expanded the role of its CFO Alan Stewart to include oversight of its property assets.

The change comes as the company reshuffles its divisional executive roles following the departure of its international director. This will see its UK and international businesses represented at board level for the first time, M&S said.

In addition to his responsibilities relating to financial asset management, Stewart manage the group’s property holdings. Chief executive Marc Bolland’s executive assistant Hugo Adams has also been appointed property director, reporting to Stewart.

Stewart has served as M&S CFO since October 2010, having previously worked as CEO at high-street travel agents Thomas Cook UK, group CFO of Thomas Cook Holdings and group FD of WH Smith. He was recently appointed to drink-maker Diageo’s audit, nomination and remuneration committees as a non-executive director.

Alongside Stewart’s increased remit, executive director, multi-channel Laura Wade-Gery will assume responsibility for UK retail, while executive director, marketing & business development Patrick Bousquet-Chavanne will oversee the company’s international business.

Current international director Jan Heere has left the company and will be replaced by business development director, international Costas Antimissaris.

Wade-Gery, Bousquet-Chavanne, executive director for food, Steve Rowe and executive director for general merchandise  John Dixon will be accountable for operating profit in their respective trading areas.

Chief executive Bolland said M&S has “worked hard” to build itself as an international, multi-channel retailer that meets the needs of future retail developments. “We now have the right infrastructure in place to take our business forward, and as we enter the next phase of our plan, we need to make sure our team structures and internal processes allow us to move with pace, simplicity and speed,” he said.

The changes will be reflected in “internal realignment” of responsibilities throughout the business, focusing on “increased spans of control, streamlined processes and a more collaborative way of working”, the company added.

M&S has struggled with falling performance in recent years, with the 130-year-old retailer’s profits dropping by 4% to £623m in the last financial year. This was largely attributed to a 1.4% fall in like-for-like sales of general merchandise, including clothing, while like-for-like food sales climbed by 1.7%.

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