Marks & Spencer accused of ‘fudge’ after appointing co-chief executives Business

Marks & Spencer has been accused of serving “M&S fudge” by appointing two co-chief executives after boss Steve Rowe announced his intention to quit.

Mr Rowe will be replaced in May by Stuart Machin and Katie Bickerstaffe, who are promoted from co-chief operating officers.

But as usual, Ms. Bickerstaffe will report to Mr. Machin, who is the de facto chief executive and will run the day-to-day affairs, despite his joint title.

Mr. Machin was given the title of Managing Director, while his role is that of Co-General Manager.

Nick Bubb, an independent retail analyst, said the new roles were “not just fudge – it’s M&S fudge”.

He added: “It’s strange that M&S ​​is slipping away and appointing Katie Bickerstaffe as co-CEO.”

Insiders said there was no internal confusion over the appointments.

Ms. Bickerstaffe leads the apparel and home division of M&S and joined as a non-executive director in 2018. She will manage the integration of physical and e-commerce operations.

Finance chief Eoin Tonge, who was also in the running for the top job, will now oversee strategy in an expanded role and report to Mr Machin.

However, a retail industry source said: ‘It’s very strange, he’s the managing director and she’s the co-general manager. He runs the business. How can you be co-CEO then? said a municipal source.

“The City likes a person to blame and a person to denounce. He’s the CEO and CFO. Very, very strange.

Chairman Archie Norman said: “M&S is a complicated business, there is a lot of heavy work to do. It’s not a one-person job, and we’re very keen on continuity.

“M&S over the years has had far too many changes and zigzags in management. We have made good progress over the past two years, and we must maintain that progress.

“The changes allow us to keep the team and three very high caliber people.”

It marks the end of a slow journey to the top for Mr Rowe, who joined M&S aged 15 and worked his way up until finally becoming chief executive in 2016.

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This notice was published: 2022-03-10 20:29:13

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