Analysts have welcomed the appointment of retail heavyweight Helen Weir as Marks & Spencer’s new finance director.
Weir is currently group finance director at John Lewis Partnership and is expected to take up her new role next year after seeing out her six-month notice period.
Analysts pointed to Weir’s strong background in retail as ideal for the role. She has been group FD at John Lewis since April 2012, and before that worked for Lloyds Banking Group as group executive director, retail. Prior to this she was FD at Kingfisher between 2000 and 2004 and B&Q FD from 1995 to 2000. She has also worked for Unilever and McKinsey.
“I think M&S shareholders will be pleased about Helen Weir’s appointment,” said Clive Black, director at Shore Capital. “Alan Stewart, who has gone to Tesco, is a hard act to follow and capturing someone of Helen’s experience and standing, given her time with Kingfisher, Lloyds Bank and John Lewis, is good news.”
Jamie Merriman, an analyst at Sanford Bernstein added: “If you look at her CV, she has the sort of background that’s needed for M&S right now.”
And Berenberg analyst Bethany Hocking said: “Given John Lewis host results meetings, for the sellside [analysts] Ms Weir is relatively well-known to the City.”
M&S said Weir would receive a basic annual salary of £590,000 and “standard benefits commensurate with her position”. She will also receive a one-off payment of £188,500 to compensate for the difference in pensions.
“M&S is one of the UK’s great brands,” Weir said. “This is an exciting time to be joining the company and I am delighted to be part of the team.”
John Lewis Partnership, meanwhile, added that a process to select her successor would begin immediately.