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Carl Dawson to become IT director at M&S

Caroline Baldwin

Marks and Spencer has hired Tesco's internet-retailing leader as its IT director.

Carl Dawson, who has also held the role as Group CIO at both Shop Direct and Thomas Cook, will replace Darrell Stein who has held the position since 2006.

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Dawson will report to the chief finance officer, a role currently filled by Paul Friston, the former director of financial control, on an interim basis.

In an internal announcement seen by Retail Week, M&S chief executive, Marc Bolland, told colleagues Dawson would be taking up the role. But no announcements have been made regarding Dawson’s start date.

In March it was revealed Stein was leaving the retailer this summer, after completing a major redevelopment of the company’s e-commerce offering.

M&S would not comment on where Stein is moving or when he is leaving, but Clifford Cohen, head of business solutions at M&S.com will take on the IT director role in the interim.

M&S launched its new website in February as part of a greater focus on multihannel retailing. The site was developed over four years, after the company announced in November 2010 that it was moving away from its Amazon-based online channel and bringing its e-commerce functionality back in house.

Stein led the redevelopment and introduced a range of new technology to branches, such as in-store terminals, from which customers can order M&S’s entire online range. His team also delivered 191 digital “inspiration screens”, which carry editorial-style content about products and trends.

Under Stein, M&S also equipped customer assistants with iPads to enable staff to demonstrate the retailer’s full range of products to customers, as well as checking size and availability.

“All this in-store technology to encourage customers, to use technology, to spend money with us has been developed by our in-house engineering team, typically with more agile methodologies – and we will be doing a lot more of that,” he told Computer Weekly last year.

But in the last few years, board-level responsibility for online retail has moved to executive director of multichannel e-commerce Laura Wade-Gery, who in 2011 was poached from Tesco, where she was e-commerce director.


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