Marks & Spencer has poached a top Aldi director to become chief commercial officer of its food division.

Marks & Spencer has appointed Kara Greatorex to the role, which she will take up at the start of next month, Retail Week can reveal.

Greatorex has been at Aldi for 15 years and has held various positions including buying director and managing director for stores.

She also brings experience from online grocer Ocado, where she worked between 2007 and 2009 in strategy roles in trading and marketing.

She replaces Paul Friston, who has decided to leave M&S to pursue other opportunities after 28 years at the retailer. He will not leave until the end of October to help ensure a smooth handover.

M&S Food boss Alex Freudmann said: “I’m delighted that Kara has agreed to join M&S Food. She brings deep commercial experience in buying, store operations, marketing and transformation.

“As we continue our work to transform M&S Food by investing in quality, value and innovation for customers and by building more strategic relationships with the very best suppliers, Kara’s experience and passion for product will be a great addition to the team.

“I’d also like to thank Paul for his 28 years of service with M&S. Paul has made a significant contribution to our business, leading across finance, international and most recently as part of my leadership team in food. We wish him the very best for the future.”

Greatorex said: “I couldn’t be more excited about joining the M&S Food team. It’s a retailer I’ve always loved and admired and having the opportunity to be a part of the ongoing transformation is fantastic.”

M&S Food has also appointed Jon Downes as supply chain and commercial operations director. He joins from Morrisons at the end of August and will report to Greatorex.

Downes was commercial director for ambient and non-foods at Morrisons and previously spent 14 years at Tesco. He replaces Neil Adams who is moving to M&S’ property team.