January 10, 2018 / 10:28 AM / 7 days ago

M&S poaches Dixons Carphone's Singer to be finance chief

LONDON (Reuters) - Marks & Spencer (MKS.L) has recruited Dixons Carphone (DC.L) finance chief Humphrey Singer to replace chief finance officer Helen Weir, who is leaving the British retailer on March 31 after three years in the role.

Singer - who has been group finance director of Dixons Carphone since the company was created through the merger of Dixons Retail and Carphone Warehouse in 2014 and did the same role at Dixons Retail before that - said M&S was changing under the leadership of chief executive Steve Rowe.

“There’s no better time to be joining the team that is transforming the business,” Singer said on Wednesday.

Rowe is attempting to revitalise the clothing, homeware and food retailer by improving ranges, reducing the floorspace devoted to clothes and cutting its cost base.

Weir announced in November that she would leave M&S to pursue a “more diverse portfolio” of jobs.

She will continue to be paid her salary and pension until Nov. 8 in line with her contract, M&S said, and will be eligible for a bonus for the 2017/18 financial year.

Weir was paid 757,000 pounds ($1 million) in salary and received a 496,000 pounds bonus in the last financial year, according to M&S’s annual report.

Singer will receive a salary of 600,000 pounds, M&S said.

Dixons Carphone, which sells electricals and mobile phones, said Singer was expected to remain at the business until July 2018. It has started a search for a replacement, it said.

Seb James, chief executive of Dixons Carphone, said Singer had played a vital role in the transformation of the company, and would leave the business in a healthy financial position.

    Singer’s strong track record, however, was slightly tarnished when the company warned on profit in August, sending its shares down by as much as 30 percent.

    Separately, Dixons Carphone was fined 400,000 pounds on Wednesday after the personal data of more than 3 million of its customers was exposed in a cyber attack in 2015.

    Its shares were flat at 203 pence at 1045 GMT, while M&S’s were up 1.8 percent at 324 pence.

    M&S will update on Christmas trading on Thursday. Dixons Carphone is set to release a trading statement on Jan. 23.

    ($1 = 0.7383 pounds)

    Reporting by Paul Sandle; Editing by James Davey and Mark Potter

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