Andy Adcock_ M&S

Andy Adcock is leaving M&S at the end of April

Marks & Spencer has ­created a new role of managing director of food in a bid to overhaul its food performance.

Steinhoff UK group CEO Stuart Machin will join M&S next month as the retail giant looks to address a slowdown in its food business that prompted CEO Steve Rowe to slow its Simply Food store opening programme last November.

Current director of food Andy Adcock will leave M&S at the end of April as a result.

Machin is a former COO of Coles Supermarkets Australia. He has also held roles at Asda, Walmart, Tesco and Sainsbury’s and was CEO of Target Australia for three years before joining Steinhoff.

The new role will give Machin overall P&L accountability in the food business, and will report into Rowe. The change mirrors the appointment of Jill McDonald on the GM side, where the former Halfords and McDonalds boss is charged with transforming non-food as clothing & home MD.

“We face challenges in our food business and we have lots to do to change, fast. Stuart has first class experience of driving change in big food retailers,” said Rowe. “At M&S we need to sharpen our prices, improve our products, drive profitability and grow market share – Stuart is the right leader to get on and deliver these changes.”

Machin said his heart lay in food retail and he was excited to bring what he said was his “passion for dynamic, customer-led food retailing to M&S”.

“The business has many reasons to be proud of its food offer but there are also opportunities and lots to deliver under the transformation plan that Steve has laid out,” he added.

He will work closely with Sharry Cramond, newly appointed food marketing director. M&S said Cramond was focused on improving customer perceptions of price and provenance.

Rowe also thanked Adcock for his “significant contribution to M&S over the last nine years” and wished him well for the future.