Jul 22, 2019
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Marks & Spencer hires new HR director

Jul 22, 2019

Marks & Spencer has poached Harriet Hounsell from McDonald’s to be its new human resources director as part of efforts to overhaul the corporate culture and unlock growth.

She will replace David Guise, who left the British retailer in May, reported the Mail on Sunday.

In the company’s annual report for the 2019 financial year, Marks & Spencer chairman Archie Norman complained of a “siloed, slow and hierarchical culture” which has made it difficult for the retailer to adapt to new challenges.

CEO Steve Rowe has also spoken about a need to change the culture of the business and to leave the “Head Office knows best” mentality. “Our colleagues are our biggest asset and unlocking their potential will drive our transformation,” he said in a statement earlier this year.

Harriet Hounsell is joining to help shake up what has been described by Rowe as a “business held back by deeply entrenched cultural norms”.

In the year ended 30 march 2019, Marks & Spencer posted a 3% decline in revenue to £10.3 million and a 9.9% reduction in pre-tax profit to £523 million. 

Earlier this month, the company ousted its clothing managing director Jill McDonald after inventory issues with Holly Wolloughby’s sold-out fashion range left the retailer with empty rails in its stores for almost a month.

Former Topshop fashion director Maddy Evans has joined the business to help attract a younger demographic.

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