New M&S clothing chief joins October 2

Marks & Spencer’s clothing, home & beauty division will welcome its new managing director on 2 October 2017, announced the British company on Wednesday.


Jill McDonald, who was announced as new managing director for M&S’ non-food business in May, will take over clothing, home and beauty from CEO Steve Rowe, while CFO Helen Weir will hand over responsibility for the division’s supply chain and logistics.  

This means McDonald will have overall profit and loss accountability for all aspects of the M&S non-food business, and will be responsible for the day-to-day running of the divison and the development and execution of strategy. 

When the company announced her appointment, CEO Steve Rowe said she is “the right person to lead this all-important part of our business from recovery in to growth.” 

McDonald joins M&S from bikes and car parts retailer Halfords, where she was chief executive for two and a half years. She has also previously worked at health & beauty group Colgate-Palmolive, British Airways and McDonalds, but her appointment came as a surprise as she has no practical experience in the clothing industry.

In a recent Halfords update, McDonald said she will focus on listening to her customers, saying: “Whatever business I've worked in – and I'll take it to M&S as well – I've learnt that you have to stay as close as possible to your customers. It sounds like the most generic thing to say but it's amazing how easy it is to slip off that path. You have to invest in not just understanding customers, but then acting on what they want, showing that the whole business is orientated around better serving customers.”

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