Marks & Spencer has been forced to overhaul the top team for its Sparks loyalty scheme following reports that its global director of customer insight and analytics – Suzanna Broer – has been fired for using racist language.
Broer was hired from Dutch retailer Albert Heijn in 2014 to help develop the scheme, which was unveiled in October. However, it has only just been revealed that she was booted out within weeks of launch and has now been replaced by the head of marketing for M&S food, Nathan Ansell.
The exact nature of her misdemeanor has not been revealed but one source told The Sunday Times that she was sacked following a “thorough investigation”.
M&S refused to comment on her dismissal.
Ansell is a dyed-in-the-wool brand man, having started his career at Red Bull in 2000 as student brand manager, and switching to Heinz three years later as senior brand manager, where he stayed for six years.
He then joined Birds Eye Iglo as European marketing manager before taking on the role of head of brand at M&S in October 2011. Ansell was, promoted to lead the food division – one of the few parts of the business which is performing well – in September 2012.
It would appear the loyalty scheme has yet to make much of an impression on the retailer’s performance, however. City analysts are predicting that M&S will report a decline of as much as 5.5% over the third quarter in general merchandise sales – the category that includes womenswear and men’s fashions – when it announces its results later this week.
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