Source: M&S

Katie Bickerstaffe

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Marks & Spencer has announced that joint CEO Katie Bickerstaffe will step away from the company this year.

M&S said Bickerstaffe will leave the group after its AGM in July 2024 to pursue her board career.

The announcement follows a story by Sky News that Bickerstaffe would leave M&S this year, handing over sole CEO duties to Stuart Machin.

Sky said she is leaving to focus on her non-executive director roles, including lining up a non-exec position at DIY retailer Kingfisher, which owns B&Q.

She was appointed co-CEO, reporting into Machin in March 2022.

M&S said that, having helped see through that leadership change, the strengthening of the management team and a marked improvement in the performance of the business, she will move on to take other board roles in line with the original transition plan.

Bickerstaffe has led M&S’ digital, data and international operations for the past last two years, having joined the group as chief strategy and transformation director in February 2020.

She was previously a non-exec director for M&S, having been Dixons Carphone’s UK & Ireland CEO until 2018 after joining Dixons in 2008 and its board in 2012.

Earlier in her career she worked with a number of retailers and suppliers including Kwik Save, PepsiCo, Unilever, Dyson and Somerfield – where she was retail MD.

She was appointed co-CEO, reporting into Machin in March 2022.

“I’m very grateful to Katie for her support in seeing M&S through this important period in the reshaping of the business. We now have a much stronger business, and she will move on with our very best wishes,” commented Stuart Machin, CEO.

Bickerstaffe added: “I took on the Co-CEO role to support Stuart as he succeeded to Chief Executive Officer and because of my love for the brand and my determination to see the transformation of M&S through to the next stage.

“We have built a strong team, made great progress, and it is now right that the business and function heads report directly to Stuart. I will leave with great memories and a strong sense of achievement.”

She is currently a non-executive director of the England and Wales Cricket Board and of housebuilder Barratt Developments.

Morning update

On a quiet morning for grocery news, the FTSE 100 is down 0.3% to 7,656.3pts.

Risers include Coca-Cola Europacific Partners, up 2.3% to €65.50, Premier Foods, up another 1.3% to 156.8p and Ocado, up 1.2% to 442.9p.

Fallers include PZ Cussons, down 2.5% to 94.8p, Wynnstay, down 1.6% to 381.5p and Marks & Spencer, down 1.3% to 237.7p.

Yesterday in the City

The FTSE 100 closed up 0.4% to 7,679.3pts yesterday as the markets gave the UK budget a cautious welcome.

A major riser was Premier Foods, which jumped 11.5% to a 14-year high of 154.8p on the news that it has reached an agreement to suspend deficit contribution payments from 1 April 2024, earlier than expected.

Other risers included Glanbia, up 6.1% to €17.80, Nichols, up 5.5% to 1,065p, Bakkavor, up 2.8% to 102p, Greggs, up 2.7% to 2,850p, THG, up 2.6% to 61p, Deliveroo, up 2.4% to 117.5p and Pets at Home, up 2.4% to 273.6p.

The day’s fallers included Science in Sport, down 4.5% to 16p, Reckitt Benckiser, down 2% to 5,014p, Diageo, down 1.6% to 2,876p, Ocado, down 1.4% to 437.9p, DS Smith, down 1.4% to 315.8p and Coca-Cola HBC, down 1% to 2,460p.