LONDON, Sept 12 One of British retailer Marks &
Spencer's most senior directors is to leave the firm
following a year out of the business on maternity leave.
The clothing and food group said on Monday Laura Wade-Gery,
executive director, multi-channel, will not return following her
period of maternity leave and will officially leave the company
on Sept. 30 after five years at the firm.
In December Wade-Gery had extended her leave until Sept. 1.
However, in April Steve Rowe succeeded Marc Bolland as chief
executive. A month later he shook up the responsibilities of his
executive team and simplified the firm's management structure,
sparking speculation on whether there would be any role for
In the past the former Tesco executive had been
tipped by some as a possible successor to Bolland, though her
star waned somewhat in 2014 when M&S's new online platform got
off to a shaky start.
"I've been away from the business for a year now, and that
time has seen some significant changes in both my personal life
and in the business," she said in a statement. "I concluded that
the time was right to move on from M&S."
Wade-Gery's agreed departure will see her receive monthly
payments of up to a maximum of eight months' salary and
benefits, subject to mitigation.
Rowe, a 26-year M&S veteran, has pledged to turn around
M&S's struggling clothing business by improving ranges and
availability, cutting prices and offering fewer promotions.
However, his plan, outlined in May, came with a warning of a
short-term dent to sales and profit and in July the 132-year-old
group reported its worst quarterly clothing sales for a decade.
Shares in M&S, down a third over the last year, closed down
5 percent at 326 pence.
(Reporting by James Davey; editing by Susan Thomas)