Marks & Spencer revamps top fashion team

Marks & Spencer
Jill McDonald

Marks & Spencer’s new managing director of Fashion & Home, Jill McDonald, has unveiled a revamp of the senior fashion team at the high street retailer with new heads of womenswear and menswear.

Jill Stanton, formerly executive vice president at US retailer Old Navy, has been appointed to the new role of Womenswear and Kidswear Director in a bid to attract more families to the store.

Stanton, who joins in July, has significant experience in turn-arounds and change programmes. She was part of the turnaround team at Old Navy, where she acted as interim president, and prior to that worked for companies such as Next, Dewhirst and Nike where she had global responsibility for clothing.

Former Burton managing director, Wes Taylor, has been appointed as director of menswear and will join M&S in July. Taylor has 30 years’ industry experience and spent 11 years as managing director of the Arcadia-owned menswear retailer.

In addition Laura Charles has been promoted to the role of lingerie director and Neil Harrison, director of home, will add beauty to his responsibilities.

Speaking of the changes McDonald, who arrived at M&S from Halfords in October, said: M&S Clothing is transforming. We’re crystal clear on the challenge. We must become more relevant to more people offering the right products at the right prices to appeal to our core customers and attract new ones.

“Jill and Wes are highly impressive retailers with strong track records of success at other high-profile brands and will bring this invaluable experience to M&S. We now have the right leadership team in place to get on and deliver change.”

As a result of the new appointments, current menswear and kidswear director Michael Kerr, who has been with M&S for 35 years is to leave the business to pursue other opportunities, while Queralt Ferrer, Womenswear & Lingerie Design Director, is leaving M&S and moving to Amsterdam to be with her family. The responsibility for design will be integrated into the business units.

Belinda Earl who had been covering womenswear will relinquish her commercial role with the retailer but will continue to work in an advisory role and sit on the Board of the M&S Archive. She will hand over her womenswear responsibilities to Jill Stanton over the summer.

“Belinda has made a huge contribution to M&S. She’s a great friend to the brand and we are delighted to retain her support and input,” McDonald said.

M&S’s former director of clothing and beauty Jo Jenkins left the retailer shortly after McDonald’s arrival last October following her appointment as CEO of White Stuff.