Marks & Spencer chief executive Marc Bolland has been appointed vice-president of Unicef UK.

The Dutchman will take on the role with the international children’s organisation but his work with M&S will not be affected.

Bolland will support the executive director and will work alongside president Lord Paddy Ashdown.

A Unicef statement praised Bolland’s “long-standing support” of the organisation.

Bolland said: “I have been involved with Unicef for a number of years and have also been privileged enough to witness their incredible work firsthand during the Haiti earthquake when I worked at the Unicef crisis centre.”

Lord Ashdown welcomed his appointment. He said: “We very much appreciate the huge commitment he has already shown to Unicef in a personal capacity and we are privileged to gain the expertise of such a key figure within the UK private sector.”

Bolland’s work on the retailer’s pioneering Plan A sustainability strategy was also an important element in his appointment, Ashdown said.