Marks & Spencer has hired the current boss of Steinhoff-owned Harveys and Bensons for Beds Stuart Machin for the newly created role of food managing director.

Machin, who joined the furniture group in June last year, will take up the post next month. 

M&S said Machin will work closely alongside recently appointed clothing and home managing director Jill McDonald as the retailer looks to “overhaul” its food arm and accelerate its business-wide transformation plan.

He will have overall accountability for all aspects of the high street stalwart’s food business, reporting to M&S chief executive Steve Rowe.

Machin has a retail career spanning 30 years. Prior to joining Steinhoff, he ran Target in Australia for three years and was chief operating officer of Coles supermarkets.

He also previously held roles at Asda Walmart, Tesco and Sainsbury’s.

At Asda, he was mentored by Archie Norman, who is now M&S chairman. 

The retailer said that, as a result of Machin’s appointment, its current director of food Andy Adcock will leave the company at the end of April, after nine years with the business.

Commenting on the appointment, Rowe said: “We face challenges in our food business and we have lots to do to change, fast. Stuart is an excellent addition to our team. He gets food retailing and he has first-class experience of driving change in big food retailers.

“At M&S we need to sharpen our prices, improve our products, drive profitability and grow market share – Stuart is the right leader to get on and deliver these changes.”

Machin said: “My heart lies in food retail and I am excited to bring my passion for dynamic, customer-led food retailing to M&S.

“The business has many reasons to be proud of its food offer, but there are also opportunities and lots to deliver under the transformation plan that Steve has laid out. I am looking forward to joining the team.”

Machin was drafted in to turn around Harveys and Bensons for Beds last year before the furniture chains’ South African parent company became embroiled in an accounting scandal.