M&S confirms departure of co-CEO Bickerstaffe

Katie Bickerstaffe, the co-chief executive at supermarket chain Marks and Spencer, is to leave the business after less than two years in the job.

Bickerstaffe confirmed that she plans to retire following the company’s AGM in July, with Stuart Machin to operate as the company’s sole chief executive from that point onwards.

During her time as co-chief exec, Bickerstaffe oversaw M&S’s digital, data and international businesses, and was credited with contributing to a turnaround in the company’s fortunes since the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The company in January announced thee hire of Rachel Higham from WPP in the new financial year to take over the data, digital and technology function.

The news was first reported on Wednesday by Sky News and subsequently confirmed by the supermarket.

Bickerstaffe said: “I took on the co-chief exec 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.”

Machin added: “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.”

Katie Bickerstaffe joined M&S as a non-executive director in 2018 and moved into an executive role in 2020, becoming co-chief operating officer alongside Stuart Machin in 2021. In May 2022 Machin took over as chief executive officer and Katie became co-Chief Executive Officer, reporting into him to oversee some parts of the business.

Announcing the planned executive shakeup, M&S was keen to stress that Bickerstaffe had always been clear that once this transition was complete, she would want to develop her board career alongside the positions she already holds at Barratt Developments PLC and the England and Wales Cricket Board.

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