Howard-Allen to leave M&S as high street slump looms

Marks & Spencer's top communicator Flic Howard-Allen is quitting after seven years to return to the agency world.

Versatile: Howard-Allen is 'ultimate cross-discipline communicator'
Versatile: Howard-Allen is 'ultimate cross-discipline communicator'

As the UK’s retailers prepare for a gloomy New Year, Howard-Allen has agreed to join Hill & Knowlton as senior client services director.

She will sit on the agency’s board and executive committee, reporting to incoming UK CEO Richard Millar.

Howard-Allen said: ‘The role at M&S is a 24-hour job and extremely demanding. After an extraordinary seven years it is time to do something different.’

As director of communications and CSR, she has been credited with playing a significant role in its turnaround under CEOs Luc Vandevelde and Stuart Rose.

However, M&S is now facing tough trading conditions – in November it reported a 44 per cent half-year fall in profits.

Losing such an influential communicator will be a blow to the retailer. Tulchan Communications chairman Andrew Grant said: ‘M&S is like a political party and has to communicate with a vast range of stakeholders all the strategy that lands on her desk. Hers are very tough shoes to fill.’ M&S retains Tulchan Communications for financial PR.

Howard-Allen will not take up her role at H&K until the spring after she has worked her lengthy notice period at M&S.

She originally joined M&S from H&K, having spent 14 years at the agency. She said: ‘H&K is a very exciting place to be at the moment, with a range of interesting clients and putting cross-discipline
comms at the forefront of what they are doing – which is at the heart of what I had been doing at M&S.’

H&K UK CEO Sally Costerton said the agency had been in discussions with Howard-Allen for a number of months. She added: ‘H&K is very much concentrated on cross-comms and Flic is the ultimate cross-discipline communicator.’

Time line

20 November M&S holds first one-day sale in four years to boost trading

4 November Announces first-half profits fall of 44 per cent to £221.7m

3 September Whistleblower who leaks redundancy pay cuts is sacked

9 July CEO Stuart Rose reappointed as executive chairman despite 22 per cent of shareholders not voting for him

2 July Shares fall almost 25 per cent after trading update

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Latest Articles

Growing number of clients plan PR budget increases

Growing number of clients plan PR budget increases

The number of marketers planning to increase their PR budgets during 2014 has climbed, according to the latest quarterly Bellwether survey by the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising.

Max Clifford trial jury to continue deliberations tomorrow

Max Clifford trial jury to continue deliberations tomorrow

The jury in the trial of celebrity publicist Max Clifford has been sent home after a second day of deliberations about its verdicts on 11 charges of indecent assault.

Champagne producer Charles Heidsieck appoints Story PR