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Marks & Spencer Taps Rival John Lewis for New Finance Chief

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Marks & Spencer Group hired Helen Weir to succeed Alan Stewart as chief financial officer, recruiting from one of its main UK retail competitors.

Helen Weir | Source: Courtesy

LONDON, United Kingdom — Marks & Spencer Group Plc hired Helen Weir to succeed Alan Stewart as chief financial officer, recruiting from one of its main U.K. retail competitors.

Weir, 52, will start on a date to be confirmed, London- based Marks & Spencer said in a statement today. The former Lloyds Banking Group Plc executive is expected to work her six- month notice period, John Lewis said separately.

Marks & Spencer has been seeking a new CFO since Stewart stepped down in July to join Tesco Plc. Stewart joined the grocery chain in September after Tesco negotiated his early release from contractual obligations following the discovery of accounting irregularities at the U.K. supermarket leader.

Weir “is extremely well qualified, and brings a wealth of relevant financial, retail and consumer experience,” M&S Chief Executive Officer Marc Bolland said in the statement.

Weir joined John Lewis in 2012 after serving about seven years at Lloyds, where she headed the retail banking unit.

Before 2004, she was was group finance director of Kingfisher, owner of the B&Q home-improvement chain in the U.K. She spent her early career at Unilever and McKinsey & Co.

Shares in Marks & Spencer have rallied 17 percent since Nov. 5 when the company surprised investors in reporting wider- than-expected gross margins. The company offered an improved earnings outlook even as quarterly general-merchandise sales fell the most in Bolland’s four-year leadership of the retailer.

By Tom Beardsworth; editors: Celeste Perri, Paul Jarvis, Robert Valpuesta.

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