Marks & Spencer joint chief executive Katie Bickerstaffe is set to leave the company to pursue a portfolio career. 

Katie Bickerstaffe

Katie Bickerstaffe

Bickerstaffe, who has been co-chief executive with CEO Stuart Machin for the last two years, will leave the retailer this year, according to a report on Sky News

Bickerstaffe, who led the data, international and digital parts of the business, has helped oversee a major turnaround for the retailer and her departure will leave Machin as the sole chief executive. 

An M&S spokesperson told Retail Week that the move was a planned evolution of the leadership structure, and new chief digital officer Rachel Higham will join in the new financial year. 

M&S CEO Stuart Machin said: “I’m very grateful to Katie for her support in seeing M&S through this important period in the reshaping of the business. We now have a much stronger business, and she will move on with our very best wishes,” 

Bickerstaffe said, “I took on the Co-CEO role to support Stuart as he succeeded to chief execuitve officer and because of my love for the brand and my determination to see the transformation of M&S through to the next stage. We have built a strong team, made great progress, and it is now right that the business and function heads report directly to Stuart. I will leave with great memories and a strong sense of achievement.”

According to the report, Bickerstaffe intends to focus on a portfolio career, having lined up a role as a non-executive director of B&Q and Screwfix owner Kingfisher. 

Bickerstaffe is already a non-executive director of the England and Wales Cricket Board and joined Barratt Developments as a non-executive director in 2021. 

Before her promotion to co-CEO, Bickerstaffe held other senior roles at M&S, including strategy chief and chief operating officer.  

Before joining M&S, Bickerstaffe was the boss of SSE’s retail energy services business, and she previously led Dixons Carphone’s business in the UK and Ireland.