M&S poaches Heere to head up international

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The Independent Online

Marks & Spencer has poached a senior manager from the Spanish fashion group Inditex to spearhead its drive to double its overseas sales to £1bn over the next three years.

The high street giant has hired Jan Heere, the current general manager for Russia at Inditex, which owns the Zara and Massimo Duti chains, as director of international. The hiring of Mr Heere is the latest move by Marc Bolland, the chief executive of M&S, to strengthen its top management team and achieve the strategic targets he unveiled three months ago.

The retailer poached Laura-Wade Gery, head of UK non-food at Tesco, to be its executive director of multichannel ecommerce earlier this month.

M&S, which has more than 350 stores in 42 territories globally, has vowed to grow international sales from around £500m this year to between £800m and £1bn by 2013/14. As part of these plans, M&S plans to become a multi-channel international retailer by 2015.

Mr Bolland said: "Jan's impressive international experience fits well with the international growth plans we outlined in November."

Mr Heere, who has worked at Inditex in several international roles since 2002, will sit on the M&S management committee, but not on its main board. In Russia, he has grown Inditex's presence from about 20 stores to more than 170 over the past five years. M&S has stores in countries including India, China, Turkey and Russia, and plans to open a store on the Champs-Élysées in Paris as early as this summer. France was one of several European countries that M&S pulled out of in 2001.

Mr Heere, who is fluent in English, Spanish, French, Dutch and Russian, said: "International is a real opportunity for Marks & Spencer." M&S did not say when he would start. He was placed by the executive search firm Russell Reynolds.