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Marks & Spencer Changes Indian Chief

Sarah Jacob , The Economic Times

Bangalore, March 2, 2012

Apparel and home products retailer Marks and Spencer’s has appointed Venu Nair as head of its India operations, replacing CEO Martin Jones who is moving back to the parent company.

Nair takes charge as managing director, the London-headquartered company said. Sources said Jones was moving back for personal reasons. Nair was head of sourcing for the £9.7-billion British retailer in South Asia and director of buying operations for India.

M&S operates in India through Marks & Spencer Reliance India, a joint venture with Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries, selling clothes and home decor but not its food products. It has 24 outlets across the country.

"Unlike an expatriate, Nair would have stronger understanding of the Indian market and his being involved directly in sourcing will play to his strength," said a senior executive of a rival firm. M&S has been to work towards sourcing 70% of its merchandise from India and Jones had been driving this change.

"While other international companies look at India as an interesting and emerging market, M&S clearly identifies India as a market of importance," said Devangshu Dutta, chief executive of management consultancy Third Eyesight.

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