Marks & Spencer has lost the head of its loyalty card scheme, Suzanna Broer, amid a report she allegedly used racist language at work.

Broer, who joined M&S last year from Dutch retail giant Ahold, was dismissed on the grounds of gross misconduct in mid-November, the Sunday Times reported. Her official title was global director loyalty and insight.

Broer’s departure came less than a month after she spearheaded the launch of M&S’s Sparks loyalty card scheme

She has been replaced by Nathan Ansell, previously M&S’s head of marketing for food, according to the report.

In a statement to Retail Week, an M&S spokesman confirmed Broer’s departure, but said: “We would never comment on individual cases.”

However, he added: “Marks & Spencer does not tolerate any form of discrimination in the workplace. We pride ourselves on being an equal opportunities employer and aim to create an inclusive and supportive environment across all of our workplaces at every level of our organisation.

“We will always take all the necessary steps to protect our employees from discrimination of any kind.”

M&S is set to reveal its Christmas trading update on Thursday, with some predicting it will report a fall of up to 5% in sales for its clothing division during the festive period.