London, UK (BBN) – John Dixon, the head of Marks and Spencer’s non-food division, has quit after 26 years at the retailer.
He took over running the clothing and homewares business in 2012 after starting out on the shop floor, reports BBC.
M&S has battled to revive the division, most recent figures showed like-for-like sales down 0.4% in the quarter, in contrast, food sales were up 0.3 per cent.
Mr Dixon had been regarded as a contender to become M&S chief executive if Marc Bolland decides to leave.
However, Steve Rowe, the head of food, is said to be a more likely successor.
Mr Rowe will now assume responsibility for the non-food business, while Andy Adcock steps up to become director of food.
Retal analyst Nick Bubb said: “It is a shame that John is leaving, but it looks as if he was moving down the internal pecking order at M&S, having been given the thankless task of running M&S clothing.
“It remains to be seen how far the current M&S food boss Steve Rowe, the internal favourite to replace Marc Bolland as CEO in due course, will be handicapped by taking on John’s difficult job.”
Before running general merchandise, Mr Dixon had revived the fortunes of the company’s food division.
He said he had “thoroughly enjoyed” his time at M&S. “I now have the opportunity to become a chief executive and have therefore resigned from this great company,” he said.
Mr Bolland and M&S chairman Robert Swannell both thanked Mr Dixon for his contribution to the business.
Mr Dixon’s total remuneration in 2014-15 was £1.1m, up from £939,000 in 2013/14.
Shares in M&S edged lower in morning trading on Friday, slipping 6p, or 1.1 per cent, to 540p.
Its shares have risen by more than a quarter over the past 12 months.