Mark & Spencer CEO Stuart Machin: Who is he & how has he revamped its brand

Stuart Machin became CEO of Marks & Spencer in 2022, and has made some changes to the retail giant
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With Marks & Spencer revealing a 56% increase in profits in the six months to 30 September, the retailer giant has seen a "much better than expected" year as it revamps its brand. Now, in the lead-up to Christmas, the retailer has noted customers are "responding positively" to its ranges, and said: "Customer food to order is up 25% on last year and in clothing, men's and women's partywear is significantly up. Spirits are high for Christmas". 

But who is the chief executive of Marks & Spencer, Stuart Machin? Here is what you need to know. 

Who is chief executive of M&S? 

Stuart Machin became CEO of M&S in May 2022 when the previous CEO, Steve Rowe stepped down. However, Mr Machin's role is slightly unconventional, as while he is responsible for day-to-day leadership, Katie Bickerstaffe is co-CEO in charge of online operations and data. 

Mr Machin joined M&S as Food Managing Director in April 2018 with 30 years of experience across food, fashion and home retail sector, according to his profile on M&S. Prior to his role, Mr Machin was joint Chief Operating Officer and is currently the director of Ocado Retail limited. 

Stuart Machin is the CEO of M&S (Image: M&S)Stuart Machin is the CEO of M&S (Image: M&S)
Stuart Machin is the CEO of M&S (Image: M&S)

He began his cover in retailing stacking shelves at Sainsbury's and joined the retail management scheme when he was 18. However, since then, he has worked for Tesco and Asda in increasingly serious roles before moving to Australia for ten years. When he returned to the UK, Mr Machin was the CEO of home retailer and manufacturer Steinhof UK. 

However, he joined Marks & Spencer in 2018, where he quickly climbed the ladder, becoming non-executive director of the collision with Ocado, which was previously linked to Waitrose, rising to COO in 2021, then to CEO in 2022. 

How has Stuart Machin revamped M&S? 

When Mr Machin became CEO, one of the first initiatives he launched was "Straight to Stuart", which is a scheme that allows staff to share views and ideas with him for improving M&S. The BBC reports this scheme has led to the introduction of Megan Tomkies' suggestion that staff with a stammer or speech impediment could wear a corresponding symbol on their lapel badges, and Bowel cancer survivor Cara Hoofe's suggestion to have Bowel Cancer symptoms listed on toilet roll packaging and in-store toilets.

Mr Machin has completely revamped M&S, and is investing about £500 million in a 'store rotation programme'.

As well as shutting 67 'low productivity' outlets, his plan is to have 180 full-line shops and to open more than 100 new food halls by April 2026. There is a push to grow through 'omni-channel' shopping, where the bricks-and-mortar stores work with the online business, so customers can buy whenever and however they wish.

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