Andrew Skinner, formerly one of Marks & Spencer’s most senior directors, has taken on a consultancy role at Dunnes

The position at Dunnes, which is widely viewed as the ‘Irish M&S’, will reunite Skinner with Richard Jones, the former Sainsbury’s and Tesco clothing boss who also previously worked for M&S. Jones joined Dunnes as director of textiles last year.

Skinner left M&S in March, following a 30-year career at the bellwether retailer, during which time he ran the Per Una business and eventually became general merchandise merchandising director with a seat on the executive committee.

Privately controlled Dunnes has 155 stores, mainly in the Republic of Ireland but including 11 in England and Scotland. It was founded by Ben Dunne in 1944 and describes itself as “Ireland’s largest retailer”.

Like Marks & Spencer it sells food – including some Waitrose lines - and general merchandise, and emphasises the quality and value of its products.

It owns the St Bernard brand, launched in 1956 and seen as an equivalent to M&S’s famous, now discontinued, St Michael label.

No comment was available from Skinner, who is also thought to be keen to take on a full-time role at a big retailer.

It is understood that Skinner was placed in the Dunnes consultancy role by headhunter Flint Hyde.