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May 3, 2017
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Halfords CEO McDonald is new M&S clothing head

May 3, 2017

M&S has named its new head of fashion, beauty and interiors and after scouring the fashion sector the retailer has appointed a senior executive from… the car accessories sector.

M&S has looked outside the fashion sector for its new head of clothing

The shock appointment sees Jill McDonald, currently CEO of car and bike accessories giant Halfords, installed as its new Managing Director of Clothing, Home & Beauty. She will have overall profit and loss accountability for all aspects of the M&S non-Food business, from design and sourcing through to supply chain and logistics, and will report directly to M&S's CEO, Steve Rowe.

She joins this autumn, with the exact date not yet confirmed, and will be part of the M&S Operating Committee, the team accountable for the day-to-day running of the business and the development and execution of strategy.

As a result of the appointment, M&S is also announcing a change of responsibility for Steve Rowe, who will give up his Clothing, Home & Beauty accountabilities to McDonald on her arrival, and for CFO Helen Weir, who will hand over responsibility for the Clothing, Home & Beauty Supply Chain & Logistics.  

This is big news. The retailer had been widely expected to put a fashion sector veteran in charge of the unit with new Reiss CEO Christos Angelides at one point having been tipped for the post. Fat Face CEO Anthony Thompson and former Mothercare boss Mark Newton-Jones had also been seen as possible candidates.

M&S has a long tradition of promoting from within with Steve Rowe himself having been a veteran of the firm.
But now it not only has stepped outside of its own talent pool but outside of the clothing sector altogether. Before Halfords, McDonald held senior roles at restaurant chain McDonald’s (no relation), as well as British Airways and Colgate-Palmolive.

"Jill is an excellent addition to the M&S senior leadership team,” Rowe said. “[Her] first-class customer knowledge and great experience in running dynamic, high achieving teams make her exactly the right person to lead this all-important part of our business from recovery in to growth."

M&S also said that, on McDonald’s arrival, Jo Jenkins will move to the new role of Clothing & Beauty Director, reporting into the new exec, and with expanded accountabilities for all clothing across womenswear, menswear and kidswear.

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