M&S adds new retail and property roles as part of growth plan
M&S is focusing heavily on its retail operations and said on Wednesday that it has added two key new roles to the organisation to help it build “a store estate that’s fit for the future with industry-leading store operations and empowered colleagues”.
It’s added the new roles to the Retail, Operations and Property leadership team with Will Smith joining as its Property Director and Helen Milford as its Retail Director. They’ll report to Sacha Berendji, Retail, Operations & Property Director.
The company added that while it has previously had Retail Directors and Property Directors, “these roles are both bigger with broader remits”.
Berendji added: “Will Smith’s experience spans property, strategy and general management and he will drive forward our plans to create a store estate fit for the future. He will have accountability for every aspect of our property function including our newly-formed asset management team and extensive property portfolio.
“Helen has an outstanding track record and she will be supported by two new Heads of Division with the right breadth and depth of experience to deliver our mission to be the best retail operator with the most engaged and empowered colleagues in UK retail.”
The company has looked to the supermarkets sector to find its new property chief with Smith joining from Asda where he’s been VP of Real Estate, Facilities and Market Development. He joined Asda as MD of Netto when Asda bought that chain. He’ll now look after the whole of M&S’s property function, including asset and estate management, acquisitions and disposals, construction delivery, and health and safety.
Milford also has extensive experience in the supermarkets sector, as well as at other big-name UK firms. She joins from Sainsbury’s-owned Argos and previously held key roles across retailers including Boots and Asda.
She’ll lead the 70,000 store workers, managing the recently-expanded team of four heads of division. They include Laura Mitchell (North) and Ken Sculley (Ireland), who were recently joined by Alex Hanson (Central, from Arcadia) and Mark Henry (South, from Lidl).
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