Feb 11, 2020
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M&S hires new finance chief following Singer’s departure

Feb 11, 2020

Marks & Spencer has appointed Eoin Tonge as its new chief financial officer to help it navigate through the tricky trading conditions in the UK retail market.

Photo - Sandra Halliday

He will take over from interim CFO David Surdeau, who was appointed in December to oversee the finance function following the departure of former finance chief Humphrey Singer.

The embattled department store chain was relegated from the London stock market's blue-chip share index in 2019, a strong sign of how far its overall value has declined.

CEO Steve Rowe said that the CFO appointment concludes “a rigorous search for a world-class finance director”. 

“[Tonge] brings in-depth knowledge of food, as well as strategy and operations, and is another addition to the very strong management team we are building to transform M&S,” he added.

The new CFO will join Marks & Spencer in June, as he is currently serving in the same role at Greencore Group, an Irish food company. Some of his achievements at Greencore included strengthening the company's balance sheet, returning capital to shareholders and simplifying the business to focus on its core propositions in the UK.

His brief at Marks & Spencer will be similar. The British company had a tough 2019, hurt by falling sales and uncertainty. In addition to closing hundreds of stores, ousting its clothing chief and redirecting some of the focus to food, the retailer is now attempting to accelerate a turnaround by hiring a number of strategy experts.

Katie Bickerstaffe is joining as chief strategy and transformation director in April, while Will Smith and Helen Milford will take over as property and retail directors, respectively. Their remit will be to build “a store estate that’s fit for the future”, as the company continues to assess its store estate in the face of online shopping's rapid growth.

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