Mark and Spencer’s CEO: A Profile of Steve Rowe

Mark and Spencer (M&S) is a leading British retailer that has been in operation for over 130 years. The company is known for its high-quality clothing, food, and home products. In 2016, Steve Rowe was appointed as the CEO of M&S, succeeding Marc Bolland. Since then, Rowe has led the company’s efforts to turn around its fortunes and restore its position as a top British retailer. In this article, we will take a closer look at the career and leadership style of Steve Rowe, the current CEO of M&S.

Early Career

Steve Rowe began his career at M&S in 1991 as a graduate trainee. Over the next 25 years, he worked in various roles across the company, including in stores, buying, and marketing. In 2000, he was appointed as the Director of Marketing and later became the Director of Stores and then the Director of Clothing and Home. In 2013, he was promoted to Executive Director of M&S, responsible for the company’s clothing, home and food operations.

Leadership Style

One of Rowe’s key leadership strengths is his deep understanding of the M&S business. Having worked in various roles across the company, he has a wealth of experience and knowledge of the retail industry. This has enabled him to quickly identify the company’s key issues and develop strategies to address them.

Rowe is also known for his hands-on approach and willingness to roll up his sleeves and get involved in the business’s day-to-day operations. He is often seen visiting stores and speaking with employees to understand their challenges firsthand and to gather feedback on the company’s performance.

In addition, Rowe is a strong communicator and is committed to keeping employees and stakeholders informed about the company’s performance and plans. He is also a proponent of transparency and open communication, which has helped to build trust and confidence in the company among employees, customers, and investors.

Turnaround Efforts

When Steve Rowe took over as CEO of M&S in 2016, the company faced a number of challenges. Sales had been declining for several years, and the company’s clothing and home division had been particularly hit hard. Rowe quickly set to work on turning around the company’s fortunes.

One of his key strategies was to improve the quality and design of the company’s clothing and home products. He also improved the in-store experience for customers by investing in new technology and redesigning store layouts. Additionally, Rowe made changes to the company’s food division, including by introducing a range of new products and making improvements to the in-store bakery and deli departments.

Rowe also worked to reduce costs and improve efficiency across the company. This included closing underperforming stores, reducing headcount, and streamlining the company’s supply chain.


Steve Rowe’s efforts to turn around the company have yielded positive results. In the fiscal year ending March 2020, M&S reported a rise in sales and profits for the first time in four years. Clothing and home sales increased by 1.5%, and food sales increased by 1.3%. The company’s share price also increased by more than 20% during the year.


Steve Rowe is a seasoned retail executive with a wealth of experience and knowledge of the M&S business. As CEO, he has quickly identified the company’s key issues and developed strategies to address them. His hands-on approach, commitment to transparency and open communication, and focus on improving product quality and design have helped turn the company’s fortunes around and restore its position.

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