Steve Rowe Stays in Control at Marks & Spencer

Despite the troubles in the Marks & Spencer clothing division, Steve Rowe has expressed that he would like to remain in control of it, changing the way the retailer runs things.

He took over on Saturday and wishes to keep oversight of the division he ran before his promotion, the general merchandising division. Rowe is now chief executive over the overall group and its two divisions, food and general merchandising.

On his first Saturday in his new position, Steve Rowe spent it alongside former colleagues in the Croydon store. On Monday, he relayed his wishes to the staff regarding the general merchandising division: he wanted to make it the company’s number one priority. The business unit directors for the general merchandising division will continue to report to Rowe for a while in order to get the division working properly.

Rowe also believes in simplicity and wants to bring that to the retailer. More simplicity means more focus on customers and making work more efficient. He believes in the growth of the business and working together to make it grow in a profitable way.

This change in leadership comes right before Marks & Spencer are set to announce an update to trading. This update is expected to show a growth in the food division of around 0.3 percent, and a fall in the GM division of more than 3%.

This move of Rowe’s promotion and continuing to oversee the GM division will also show changes to the boardroom. The head of GM usually sits on the board as well. Other changes include stock analysts encouraging people to buy stock in M&S. They believe in Rowe’s vision for the company and are optimistic he will enact real changes. GM sales have been somewhat stagnant, only showing improvement in one quarter of the last 16.

Rowe, who is 48, has a background that includes head of the food division, with a move to GM only last summer. He became chief executive after the previous one, Marc Bolland, announced he would be leaving in April. Rowe started working in the Croydon M&S at just fifteen years old, moving to Topshop at 18. Four years later, he returned to M&S and has been working there ever since.

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