Diary: Whither the M&S comms machine?

In the week CEO Stuart Rose's right-hand man, executive director and supply chain guru Charles Wilson quit Marks & Spencer, we were surprised to find few hands on the troubled retailer's comms tiller.

M&S's press office told us comms director Flic Howard-Allen was on a fortnight's holiday, while her deputy, head of product PR Tania Littlehales, was also on annual leave. Menswear PR manager Louise Worrell has apparently been left holding the fort.

As sales at the once great purveyor of reliable undies continue to slide, could the PR department perhaps be a little complacent about the need to convince the media that Rose's recovery plan will succeed?

Worrell, who did not return Diary's calls, is no doubt competent enough.

But falls in M&S's share price subsequent to Wilson's exit mean even this company's famously loyal investors may need some heavyweight assurance if they are to again reject another possible offer from Philip Green, the retail tycoon who tried to buy M&S last year.

Maybe the M&S absentees' clash is just an oversight. Or perhaps, like Wilson, Howard-Allen and her deputy have decided now is a good time to be somewhere else.

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