UK grocery retailer MARKS AND SPENCER has poached the CEO of and Tesco Direct to lead its multi-channel e-commerce operations.

M&S announced today that (7 February) that Laura Wade-Gery will become executive director of multi-channel e-commerce for the retailer, at a yet-to-be confirmed date.

She was set to become Tesco’s commercial director for clothing, electronics and general merchandise following the departure of Sir Terry Leahy in March.

Wade-Gery has also served as a non-executive director of Trinity Mirror since 2006.

M&S chief executive Marc Bolland said: “I am delighted that Laura is joining the executive team. Her appointment is in line with the plans we announced last November to grow our multi-channel e-commerce business both in the UK and internationally. Laura brings a wealth of relevant experience to M&S and we are all very much looking forward to working with her.”

An M&S spokesperson emphasised that the move does not necessarily mean the retailer will be moving into online grocery. “We have always said that we look at online food at some point in the future but only if it makes sense to the business and to our customers,” she said.

Following Tesco’s announcement of Wade-Gery’s planned promotion to commercial director for clothing, electronics and general merchandise, it had announced that Ken Towle will become director of internet retailing.