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Marks and Spencer has suffered a further senior defection, with the loss of long-serving clothing director Andrew Skinner.
Mr Skinner, one of head of clothing Kate Bostock’s chief lieutenants, will leave the high street chain at the end of March. An M&S veteran of 28 years, he was responsible for stock management within the general merchandise business, which includes clothing and home furnishings.
People familiar with the situation said Mr Skinner had been with the business a long time, and was looking to do something different. He will be replaced by Sacha Berendji, executive assistant to former chairman and chief executive Sir Stuart Rose, and then current chief executive Marc Bolland.
M&S said on Tuesday: “Andrew has been with us for 28 years and feels that the time is right for him to move on. He leaves with our warm thanks for the contribution he has made to the business over the years and our very best wishes for the future.”
Mr Skinner, who has held a series of significant roles within M&S’s clothing business, is the latest senior executive to leave the retailer.
Last month long-serving executive Susan Aubrey-Cound, who was director of new channels, left the group.
Her departure followed that of Alison Jones, one of the brand directors recruited by Mr Bolland, after less than a year.
Ms Aubrey-Cound, who had been with M&S for 11 years, had been executive assistant to Sir Stuart and was involved in high-profile projects at the retailer, including its sustainability programme.
She had been helping Laura Wade-Gery, a former Tesco executive, bolster M&S’s online sales, which Mr Bolland has pledged to double to £1bn by 2013-14.
Ms Jones, whose father rebuilt Next in the 1980s, had joined M&S in June as brand director for its general merchandise business.
Hiring brand directors was also part of plans set out by Mr Bolland 18 months ago, when he pledged to turn M&S’s clothing labels into brands in their own right.
Late last year Ms Bostock came close to joining online rival Asos in a senior role and also held talks with New Look, but she has remained with the business.