M&S finance chief to join Primark owner, predecessor to be strategic advisor
A big appointment in the numbers department at Primark. The Associated British Foods (ABF)-owned fashion and lifestyle retail giant announced Thursday it has appointed M&S CFO Eoin Tonge as its next Finance Director. He is to succeed John Bason who will be retiring from the post and stepping down from the ABF Board.
However, it will be a slow goodbye for both Tonge and Bason as the former’s start date "will no later than next February” and the latter has agreed to stay on as Finance Director until the end of next April, “to ensure a smooth transition”.
Tonge is currently CFO and Chief Strategy Officer at M&S, a position he has held since May, having joined the high street retail giant in June 2020. Prior to that, he was CFO of convenience food producer Greencore Group from 2016 to 2020 and, before that, was Managing Director of Greencore's grocery division and Chief Strategy Officer.
M&S said it is now starting a process to appoint a successor.
Meanwhile Bason, who has been at ABF for more than 23 years, is not severing his ties with the group completely. After stepping down, he will become Chairman of a newly-constituted Strategic Advisory Board (SAB) and Senior Advisor at Primark.
Primark said its new Strategic Advisory Board will provide external expertise to its CEO Paul Marchant and to the Primark Leadership Team “as the business continues its expansion and development”.
George Weston, Chief Executive of ABF, said Tonge's "extensive knowledge and experience of both retail and food industries along with his energy and broad understanding of business make him an ideal successor to John as Finance Director. I am confident he will make a strong contribution to the senior management team and to the business".
He added that Bason's "contribution has been wide-ranging and exceptional, and I'd like to thank him for both his unbounded commitment to our company and for his support to me personally. I am delighted therefore that he will be making his wisdom and experience available both to Paul and to Primark, a business that he admires and knows well".
Over at M&S, its chairman Archie Norman added: "Eoin has made a great contribution to the transformation of M&S, bringing quality and rigour to the finance function and building a very strong team. Our financial controls, reporting, and financial discipline are in a far stronger place than when he arrived. Under his guidance, we have restored the balance sheet and created a strong platform for the next phase.”
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