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Alex Freudmann – who is currently managing director of Australian beer, wine and spirits retailer Dan Murphy’s – is set to take on the role on November 1.
Mr Freudmann will become part of the British retailer’s executive committee, taking over responsibility for the food arm from chief executive Stuart Machin, who was promoted to the top job earlier this year.
The latest appointment marks the final reshuffle of the M&S leadership team after former boss Steve Rowe stepped down in June and handed over responsibility to Mr Machin and co-chief executive Katie Bickerstaffe.
Former food boss Mr Machin has initially kept his role heading up the food business, alongside leading operations, property, store development, technology and human resources.
Ms Bickerstaffe focuses on global operations and the company’s digital future as well as keeping her responsibility for the clothing and home stores among others, with Richard Price leading day-to-day management of the clothing and home arm as the division’s managing director.
Mr Freudmann said: “M&S Food is a unique and very special business with world-leading food values, and I’ve always had huge respect for the brand.
“Although much has been achieved, huge opportunities remain, and I share the executive team’s belief in the long-term potential to double the size of the business.
“I am looking forward to coming back to the UK and working with a great team to accelerate the pace of change to build an even bigger, better, fresher food business.”
Mr Machin said Mr Freudmann would be a “great addition” to the team due to his retail experience.
“(Alex) has worked in food retailing for nearly two decades and in all of his roles he’s been a change-maker – bringing intellect, pace and energy. He will be a great addition to our top team as we work together to deliver the next stage of our transformation,” he said.
Mr Freudmann brings with him six years’ experience of working at Tesco in a variety of roles including senior buying manager for prepared meals and more than 10 years of working for Australian retailer Coles as part of its transformation team and as director of fresh food.