M&S transformation chief to spearhead data strategy

M&S newMarks & Spencer has initiated a major reshuffle of its senior leadership team, handing data responsibilities to chief strategy and transformation director Katie Bickerstaffe as joint chief operating officer.

The move, which sees M&S Food managing director Stuart Machin, also become joint COO, comes as the retailer it moves on to the second phase of a three-part business transformation programme.

Bickerstaffe will give oversight to M&S’s data, services, clothing and home and international businesses, while Machin is to continue as managing director of its food arm, plus oversight responsibility for operations, property, store development and IT.

The shake-up is part of the retailer’s “masterplan” to create a new raft of data skilled leaders and data scientists to spearhead digital transformation across the depth and breadth of its business.

Last year, M&S revamped the Sparks loyalty programme, ditching the physical cards and relaunching it as a digital-only scheme, hosted through an updated M&S App. The app, which attracted a million new customers within two months, followed the recruitment of former Tesco Clubcard director Danielle Papagapiou to the role of head of loyalty, with a brief to breathe new life into the scheme.

Meanwhile, the latest reshuffle also sees chief financial officer Eoin Tonge take on strategy and transformation planning as part of his remit.

Sacha Berendji will move from his current retail, operations and property director role to focus on “Future Stores” and accelerate the development of M&S’s 10X digital stores, store renewal, store rotation and IT. Finally, Richard Price and Paul Friston remain managing directors of M&S’s clothing and home and international arms, respectively.

M&S chief executive Steve Rowe first embarked on the three-phase transformation programme three years ago. The first phase, dubbed “Fixing the Basics”, featured a raft of changes, such as closing down some clothing and home stores and shifting focus to digital investment and food.

M&S said the realignment of the executive team meant the business was moving on the next phase “to reinvest in the brand and restore growth”.

Rowe commented: “Over the last three years we have built a great team of people at M&S and covered a lot of ground. Now we need to move into the next phase, and that means accelerating the pace of change, and Stuart and Katie will bring even more impetus to our core businesses.

“With that I will, with Eoin’s support, be better able to concentrate on building the M&S of the future and our path to growth.”

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