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M&S's New Chief Rowe Shakes Up Executive Suite To Fix Clothing

Published on May 12 2016 4:08 PM in Retail tagged: Featured Post / Marks and Spencer / Steve Rowe

M&S's New Chief Rowe Shakes Up Executive Suite To Fix Clothing

Marks & Spencer Group Plc’s new Chief Executive Officer Steve Rowe announced a slimmed-down management team to help revive the U.K. retailer’s struggling clothing business.

A new operating committee will include the company’s four executive directors, along with seven other senior managers including the heads of the food, womenswear and international businesses, Rowe said in a statement Thursday. That’s half the size of the management committee listed in the company’s last annual report.

“The new operating committee will be working together to improve M&S, starting with fixing our clothing & home offer for our customers, our employees and our shareholders,” Rowe said in the statement. The “smaller, more focused team running M&S will lead to more efficient decision-making and move us closer to our customers.”

Rowe said soon after succeeding Marc Bolland as CEO last month that he’s dissatisfied with the company’s shrinking clothing sales. His first major decision was to maintain oversight of the clothing business that he’s run since July. In that time, he hired British fashionista Alexa Chung to create a new collection while bringing the company’s women’s wear, lingerie and beauty teams together into one group.

He’s also made a small collection of clothing available to shoppers at the same time it’s unveiled to the fashion press, following a similar move by Burberry Group Plc.

“By making the changes now, it will help Steve Rowe head off questions about personnel and leave him to focus on outlining the company’s strategy,” Sue Shipley, managing director of SVS Executive Search, said by phone.

Rowe has given additional powers to his executive directors while they cover for Laura Wade-Gery, who is on maternity leave until September. Patrick Bousquet-Chavanne will run the online business in addition to his customer and marketing roles. Chief Financial Officer Helen Weir will be in charge of strategy implementation.

The new operating committee includes food director Andy Adcock, womenswear head Jo Jenkins and retail director Sacha Berendji.

News by Bloomberg, edited by ESM. To subscribe to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine, click here.

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