Troubled M&S poaches food supplier Greencore''s finance chief

Marks & Spencer has poached Greencore’s chief financial officer Eoin Tonge as the troubled retailing giant continues to seek a change in its fortunes.

Troubled M&S poaches food supplier Greencore''s finance chief

Marks & Spencer has poached Greencore’s chief financial officer Eoin Tonge as the troubled retailing giant continues to seek a change in its fortunes.

Mr Tonge, who held the top finance job at Greencore for the past four years, will have knowledge of the retailer because sandwich-maker Greencore is a major supplier to M&S.

Fresh food sales remain a key anchor for M&S, which after a number of false starts, is still seeking to turn around its struggling clothing range, which is facing competition from rival fashion retailers such as Next and Dunnes in Britain and Ireland. British fashion retailing is also facing its own difficulties that have led to the closure or downsizing of once major chains.

M&S shares fell over 2% in the latest session in London and have now shed 32% of their value in the past year, to value the retailer at £3.49bn (€4.1bn).

Greencore — led by Patrick Coveney — has faced troubles after the food firm was forced to exit US manufacturing in recent years.

Mr Tonge also helped strengthen Greencore’s “balance sheet, returning capital to shareholders and simplifying the business to focus on its core market-leading propositions in the UK”, M&S said in a statement.

He succeeds Humphrey Singer at M&S, who stepped down in September. Several other key executives have departed. Last year, M&S lost the head of its clothing and home business, Jill McDonald, who left after failing to turn around the struggling division. She was the retailer’s fourth clothing boss in a decade. Stuart Machin, the head of the food arm, joined nearly two years ago and has since carried out a broad review of the unit.

M&S said that Mr Tonge will be paid a basic salary of £600,000 and participate in its pension scheme “on the same terms as all colleagues”, as well as becoming eligible for bonuses and shares.

The retailer said that he will receive M&S share awards to replace those he lost at Greencore. At Greencore, Mr Tonge last year was paid a total of just over £1m, including bonus and pension payments. Last week, around a third of Greencore shareholders voted against the pension payments to Mr Tonge and Mr Coveney.

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