Marks & Spencer appoints new leadership team for food business
Marks & Spencer has announced a series of new senior hires as part of plans to transform its food division.
Having been tasked with protecting the best of the division whilst modernising the rest, a key focus for Stuart Mason, M&S food managing director, will be to improve the commercial aspects of the business. To help achieve this, he has appointed George Wright, former Tesco commercial director, to the same role at M&S with responsibility for trading and the supply chain.
With over 30 years’ experience across the buying, commercial management and trading functions, Wright’s previous roles also include general manager at Coles Supermarkets and stints at John Lewis, RF Brooks and Unilever. He will join M&S Food in late 2019.
M&S is also looking to improve the food offering by focusing on new innovations and product development. This will be led by April Preston who will be re-joining M&S as product development director next month.
Currently working with Harrods, Preston’s thirty-year career includes 18 years with M&S where she was responsible for developing over 10,000 products including its popular Gastropub ready meals.
Machin said: “I am determined to use a mix of great internal talent and impressive new hires to build a winning team to transform M&S Food into a winning business. Having the right leaders in place is our first step in the early stages of this transformation plan.
“George is a brilliant operator who is very well respected by the supply chain for his fair and commercial approach and April is a true food disruptor who has an innate talent for creating amazing customer-loved products. They will both bring skills and talents to M&S that will complement and complete the food leadership team.”
Working alongside Wright and Preston will be M&S technical director Paul Willgoss, who has worked with M&S for 23 years, and Neil Adams, who was recently appointed to the new role of food transformation director. The team will also include Sharry Cramond, food marketing director, and Nick Hewitt who was recently appointed as food finance director.
In addition, the food business is strengthening the trading teams that will report into Wright. This has included the recent appointment of Katharine Haenelt to the new role of head of trading for meat, fish, poultry and dairy.
The revamp will also result in some departures from M&S. Product development director Cathy Chapman will retire from the company and become an independent consultant in December. Meanwhile, Stuart Forder, food trading director, and Syd Reid, food supply chain and logistics director, will both be leaving the business.
Machin added: “I’d like to thank Stuart and Syd for their significant contribution to M&S and wish them well for the future. I’d also like to pay tribute to Cathy Chapman. From transforming the fresh ready meal market with the Chicken Kiev to developing so many award-winning ranges and products, Cathy has pioneered food that has shaped the palettes and tastes of Great Britain. “We will miss her enormously, though she will continue to be a great friend to M&S.”
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