Marks and Spencer finance chief to depart retailer and join Primark owner ABF

One of the most senior figures at Marks and Spencer, finance director Eoin Tonge, is to leave the retailer later this year to take up a new role at Associated British Foods.

Tonge’s departure from M&S comes only weeks after the company announced that he was to take on enhanced responsibilities following the retirement in May of Steve Rowe, the previous chief executive, and Rowe’s replacement by a joint team of Stuart Machin and Katie Bickerstaffe. Tonge had been named chief strategy officer in addition to his finance responsibilities.

M&S said Tonge would continue to support the business through its interim results announcement in November and that it was beginning the process of appointing a replacement. ABF said he would join the company no later than February.

M&S’s chair Archie Norman said Tonge had made a “great contribution” to the “transformation” of M&S.

“Our financial controls, reporting, and financial discipline are in a far stronger place than when he arrived,” Norman said.

Tonge had been seen as a key figure in the retailer’s leadership during the transition from Rowe to the unusual co-chief executive arrangement.

At ABF, Tonge will replace John Bason, who will become chair of a new strategic advisory board and senior adviser to ABF’s Primark retail business. Alongside the announcement, ABF said trading remained unchanged since it last updated the market on June 20.

Tonge, who joined M&S in 2020, said it was never an easy decision to leave “a great business like M&S”.

But he said: “The opportunity has knocked for me to take on a new financial role across a diverse portfolio of businesses.”


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