M&S marketing director quits after Sharp hiring

Marks & Spencer director of marketing Alice Avis has resigned following the appointment of Steven Sharp as marketing chief.

Avis, who has headed the department for the past 18 months, will leave the company by mutual consent this Friday (18 June). Sharp, who followed new chief executive Stuart Rose to M&S from Arcadia, was last week confirmed as head of marketing, store development and design for the beleaguered retailer, which is the subject of a takeover bid by billionaire Philip Green.

The details of Sharp's role, superseding Avis' existing responsibilities, came as M&S announced last week that executive director Vittorio Radice was to leave. He had been charged with revitalising the chain, but sales in his much-hyped £15m Lifestore in Gateshead fell 40% short of targets.

A leaked email from Rose to staff outlined cost-cutting measures which would include 'non-merchandise expenditure' such as marketing. He insisted that all costs must now be passed by himself or Sharp.

A spokeswoman said that 'everything was under review', but it was too early to say how agency arrangements will be affected.

Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R and Walker Media were appointed to the £21m account in 2000.

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