Marks & Spencer hires new corporate comms chief as veteran Fry steps down

Marks & Spencer has hired Britvic corporate relations director Victoria McKenzie-Gould as director of corporate communications, a new role created after the departure of long-standing comms chief Dominic Fry, PRWeek can reveal.

Fry has been director of communications & investor relations since joining M&S in 2009. His departure last month follows a restructure that saw investor relations move to the Finance function and the Food and Clothing Product PR teams move into those two businesses.

McKenzie-Gould (pictured) moves to M&S on 21 January. She will sit on the operating committee and report to CEO Steve Rowe.

She has been corporate relations director at Britvic since March 2016, overseeing all corporate and internal comms, plus the community, sustainability, public affairs and consumer engagement remits.

McKenzie-Gould previously worked at Tesco, initially as UK government affairs manager and then group government relations director. She earlier spent two years as a special advisor to Tony Blair when he was Prime Minister, later becoming his deputy chief of staff after leaving office.

McKenzie-Gould told PRWeek the search for her replacement at Britvic is on-going.

Fry said he "left amicably and under my own steam" following the team restructure.

"After ten very enjoyable years as M&S’ communications & investor relations director, having worked for three CEOs, I thought it was time to move on. I plan to have a break and will start looking for something interesting and worthwhile in due course," Fry stated.

This morning M&S reported a 2.2 per cent fall in like-for-like sales in the 13 weeks to 29 December 2018, which it described as a "steady performance in difficult markets".

However, there was "solid volume growth over the Christmas period", with most stores delivering like-for-like revenue growth, as "customers responded well to our Christmas ranges and campaign".

The firm released two festive films for 2018, one for the food division and the other for its clothing & home arm. The former, called "M&S Christmas favourites" by Grey London, featured people from across the country talking about their favourite festive food items from M&S, alongside shots of the "food porn" for which it has become known (see video, below).

M&S Christmas Favourites from Grey London on Vimeo.

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