After six years at Marks & Spencer, Andy Adcock has been promoted to one of the retailer’s highest profile positions.

M&S Simply Food

As Steve Rowe takes responsibility for general merchandise following John Dixon’s departure, Adcock will fill the role he vacated and become director of food at the bellwether retailer.

Previously M&S’s trading director for food, the father of three will take his place on the M&S management committee, just below board level.

M&S’s food division has become its golden child. While the business’s general merchandise arm has struggled food sales have continued to grow.

Retail experience

Adcock, 47, brings plenty of experience to his new position.

The rugby-loving executive began his career at Sainsbury’s in 1990, having graduated from the University of South Wales the same year.

After seven years as a category manager at Sainsbury’s, Adcock became the grocer’s wine category manager. However, 18 months later he jumped ship to rival Asda to become its fresh food trading director and year after that he was named its brand director.

Adcock spent just over four years at the Walmart-owned retailer and then upped sticks again to become M&S’s commercial director for food. He was promoted to become trading director for food in May 2011.

Industry reaction

Analysts seem confident that Adcock will be a steady presence.

BESI’s Tony Shiret said: “I’m sure he’ll be fine as they’re an extremely well-drilled team – as long as M&S continues to position itself at the premium end of the market and doesn’t get dragged into the general melee around grocery food pricing.”

Retail Remedy analyst Philip Dorrell welcomed Adcock’s promotion. “Well done to Andy Adcock, smashing fella well deserving of a promotion within Marks & Sparks,” he tweeted.

Shore Capital’s Clive Black said Adcock represented a “safe pair of hands”. He said: “He’s been an important part of the M&S team for quite a while, but he’s definitely got the job on merit.

“M&S has a well-established food strategy and (for Adcock) it will be a case of overseeing a growth strategy that is well set.”

With food consistently driving sales at the retailer Adcock will have to call on all his retail experience to maintain a steady ship through grocery’s choppy waters.