£250,00 pay-off for M&S marketing chief

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Marks & Spencer notched up its fourth senior management casualty in the past fortnight after Alice Avis, its marketing director, resigned abruptly yesterday.

Ms Avis, 42, who joined the retailer last year, will leave on Friday. She quit in protest at being sidelined during the management reshuffle that saw Stuart Rose, the new chief executive, appoint his long-time ally, Steven Sharp, as head of marketing, store development and design. Ms Avis's decision will raise question marks over the future of Vince McGinlay, the former supply chain director, whose role has been taken by Charles Wilson, another of Mr Rose's acolytes.

M&S insiders said Mr Rose "invited" Ms Avis to stay. However she would have had to report to Mr Sharp, which she was not keen to do. "She is leaving by mutual agreement because she felt it was in the interest of both parties," an M&S spokeswoman said.

Although the company would not comment on Ms Avis's exact compensation package because she was not on the board of directors, the spokeswoman said she would be entitled to the equivalent of one year's salary - thought to be about £250,000.

The management cull, sparked by Philip Green's interest in bidding for M&S, has racked up a bill of more than £10m for the company, once share awards and other bonuses are taken into account. Luc Vandevelde, the former chairman, Roger Holmes, the former chief executive, and Vittorio Radice, the former clothing and homes boss, have all left in the past two weeks.

Shares in M&S fell 6.25p to 359.75p as investors bet that Mr Green, whose cash-and-shares proposal was rejected, would not return with a higher offer.