Retail

M&S Names Former Rentokil Executive As Interim Finance Chief

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Britain's Marks & Spencer has named former Rentokil executive Jeremy Townsend as its interim chief financial officer, days after the clothing and food retailer said its annual profits would fall amid a cost-of-living crisis.

Townsend, 58, will take over from Eoin Tonge early next year, at a time when British consumers are trying to navigate rising energy and grocery bills, as well as higher mortgages and rents.

"Jeremy will be an excellent addition, bringing with him a wealth of financial leadership experience, as we accelerate our plans to reshape M&S for growth," M&S chief executive Stuart Machin said in a statement.

Jeremy Townsend

The company did not say why Townsend was being appointed on an interim basis, nor how long he was expected to serve.

Townsend has worked in various finance roles. The British businessman retired as finance boss at pest control firm Rentokil in 2020 after about 10 years in the role and has also worked with pub operator Mitchells & Butlers.

M&S in July said Tonge would be quitting the company to head to AB Foods, owner of budget fashion chain Primark.

Separately on Friday, AB Foods said Tonge would join the company as its finance director designate on 6 February 2023.

Townsend will start in his new role at M&S on 22 November.

The clothing and food group reported a 24% decline in profit before tax and adjusting items to £205.5 million (€235.7 million) for the six months to October 1 – slightly ahead of analysts' average forecast.

News by Reuters, edited by by ESM – your source for the latest retail news. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.

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