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Marks & Spencer CEO steps down, appoints new leadership team

By Rachel Douglass

Mar 10, 2022


Image: Marks & Spencer, Steve Rowe

British department retailer Marks & Spencer has announced its chief executive officer of six years, Steve Rowe, will be stepping down as part of its planned succession programme.

Rowe, who will be leaving after the company announces its preliminary results on May 25, has been with the retailer since the age of 15, working his way up and serving in multiple leadership roles before taking over as CEO.

During his time as CEO, Rowe aided in the doubling of the retailer’s online penetration for its clothing and home division and has guided the business through the pandemic.

Steve Machin is set to come in as chief executive, taking over the responsibility of day-to-day leadership while continuing to have an overview of his current portfolio, including M&S Food, operations and store development. Rowe has agreed to remain as an advisor to the new leadership for up to 12 months.

Katie Bickerstaffe will become co-chief executive, with a particular focus on driving global omnichannel, digital and data future. Bickerstaffe will also continue working on her existing portfolio, including clothing and home and financial services.

Additionally, in a further leadership appointment, Eoin Tonge has been announced as chief strategy and finance officer. Tonge will take on leading the development for the company’s future and oversight for Plan A, Marks & Spencer’s sustainability scheme.

Continuing on its path of transformation

Alongside the new appointments, Marks & Spencer is now set to embark on the second phase of its Shaping the Future programme, which sees the company take on new leadership to accelerate change and make progress in its transformation and strategies.

“The appointments we are making today bring together a very strong leadership team to take the business into the next stage of its transformation,” said the retailer’s chairman, Archie Norman, in a release.

Norman continued: “Given the very strong recent progress we have made, keeping up the pace and momentum is critical. We are delighted to have brought together three exceptional individuals who, with the support of the executive committee, will provide vision, energy and pace for this next phase.”