Britain’s M&S finance chief quits to join Primark-owner ABF

A man leaves a Marks & Spencer store in London, Britain, in this January 7, 2016 file photo. REUTERS/Toby Melville

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  • M&S shares down 4%; ABF up 1%
  • Tonge heads to Primark-owner ABF
  • M&S kicks off process to find successor

July 21 (Reuters) – Marks and Spencer (MKS.L) said on Thursday finance and strategy chief Eoin Tonge would leave the company to take up a role at Associated British Foods (ABF) (ABF.L), owner of budget fashion chain Primark.

Tonge’s move, the latest in a series of top management moves at the British food and clothing retailer, comes at time when the company is struggling with rising costs.

Shares in M&S, which have risen 44% since Tonge joined in June 2020, slid 4% in early trade on Thursday. ABF rose 1%.

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During his stint at M&S, Tonge has helped steer the group through the pandemic. He has also contributed to its transformation plan of improving product quality, overhauling its store estate, investing heavily in technology and e-commerce, and restoring its balance sheet.

“Our financial controls, reporting, and financial discipline are in a far stronger place than when he arrived,” M&S Chairman Archie Norman said.

Tonge has been appointed ABF’s finance director, succeeding John Bason, who is retiring. He will lead efforts to monetize Primark’s shift to e-commerce.

Bason, 65, will stay on as finance director until the end of April and will become…

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