Marks & Spencer has poached Next’s head of menswear design Simon Hawksworth to fill the position left vacant by Tony O’Connor’s departure.

Hawksworth is expected to join M&S in the summer. O’Connor left at the beginning of the year after almost seven years at the retailer to “explore other opportunities”, according to Retail Week’s sister title Drapers.

Hawksworth joined Next in April 2012, having previously worked as creative director at design agency Goose Design from October 2008 and design director at Ben Sherman from September 2002 to December 2007.

M&S’s clothing business has suffered 14 consecutive quarters of decline, but that is being driven by a poor performance in its womenswear division rather than menswear.

Earlier this month M&S revealed its general merchandise division like-for-likes slumped by 5.8% as total sales fell 5.4%.

The poaching of Hawksworth comes a year after M&S hired Next buying manager Paula Bonham-Carter as head of buying for womenswear and Next lingerie and nightwear buyer Laura Charles as head of buying for lingerie.

M&S lingerie director Jo Jenkins joined from Next in 2013.