The appointment of Queralt Ferrer, a former Inditex executive, is part of an attempt by Steve Rowe, the retailer’s new head of its non-food businesses, to revive the fortunes of M&S’ flagging women’s department.
Ferrer will report directly to Rowe, and Belinda Earl remains as M&S’ style director.
M&S’s womenswear director Frances Russell left the business in August, less than a month after Rowe took over the general merchandise beat from John Dixon.
A spokesperson for M&S said: “We are pleased to promote Queralt Ferrer to the position of design director, womenswear, lingerie and beauty.
“The appointment supports our commitment to improving product style and is in line with our recent move to align accountability for the product areas designed for our female customers.”
Ferrer’s appointment follows that of Jo Jenkins as director of womenswear, beauty and lingerie, bringing together all of the product areas catering to women. She was hired by chief executive Marc Bolland to lead design within its Autograph and Limited Edition ranges. She had also taken on responsibility for its Best of British premium and Classics collections.
M&S is shifting its focus away from relying on suppliers for design, meaning that it needs to bolster its in-house design credentials.