M&S to pay female boss £750,000 for working four-day week

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“At some point you’re looking at stuff seven days a week [in a senior management role],” she said in an interview last year.

“We’re [M&S] a seven day a week, 24-hour operation and that’s what you do, but I’ve always done that [four day] because it gives me the freedom to spend some downtime with my kids and not feel that I don’t have the opportunity to do that during the week. It really matters to me.”

She added: “Everyone that works for me knows that I’ve always had my phone with me, I always check through stuff, there’s never ever been a problem with it.”

The flexible working pattern is understood to have been an impediment in securing the top job at M&S.

Mr Machin joined M&S to run its food business in 2018 with nearly 30 years’ experience working in food, fashion and homewares.

He is credited with assisting Mr Rowe and Mr Norman with the retailer’s latest turnaround that began in June 2020. He has focused on lowering prices to convince more families to do their “full weekly shop” with M&S.

The company said in its annual report that “there was careful deliberation when setting the pay arrangements for Stuart and Katie” and that a number of factors were taken into consideration including different work patterns, their experience and skill and the responsibilities of each, as well as external market factors.

The two chiefs and Eoin Tonge, M&S’s finance boss who is also taking on enhanced responsibilities, could earn more than £15m between them for the current financial year when bonuses are taken into account.

According to M&S’ pay report, Mr Machin could earn £5.4m and Ms Bickerstaffe £5.1m. Mr Tonge could be in line for £4.5m.

To achieve this, they are required to hit stretching targets and drive a 50pc increase in the company’s share price. The executives will be eligible to be considered for a salary review in July next year.

Meanwhile, Mr Rowe saw his pay and bonus package more than double to £2.6m for the past year. It is only the second time he has received a bonus during his six years as chief executive.

M&S’s pay packages are set independently by its remuneration committee.

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