A spokesman today confirmed finance staff could be hit by the job losses because of a ‘knock-on-effect’ from the planned closure of its loss-making catalogue business, which could hit 690 jobs.
Colvill, a chartered secretary who has been with M&S since 1985 and was appointed FD in 1993, is due to retire this summer.
Reed, 44, joined the retailer in 1984 after training as a chartered accountant with Touche Ross. She worked in a variety of roles across its operations before becoming financial controller in 1996, and UK retail FD in 1999.
She will oversee the restructuring which will see the retailer adopt a ‘total focus on the recovery of the UK retail business’, which has been hit by falling profits and sales.
In order to ‘eliminate distractions’ it is closing its subsidiaries in continental Europe and is selling off its two US businesses, Brooks Brothers and Kings Super Markets. Its website, www.marksandspencer.co.uk, will be maintained.
The closure of the European businesses could result in the loss of some 3,350 jobs, and the closure of its UK-based catalogue business will affect a further 690. These plans, according to M&S, are ‘subject to consultation’ with the workforce.
It is also planning to sell some of its properties, and says it will return £2bn to shareholders by the end of March 2002.
Chairman and chief executive Luc Vandevelde said: ‘These changes put in a clear, thorough and urgent plan for recovery based on the UK business.’
He added: ‘By creating a simpler more focused organisation we will be able to get on with what we do best.’
Profile: Robert Colvill