M&S hires its first ever data science boss as it seeks to become a “digital first business”

Marks & Spencer has appointed its first ever head of data science Mehdi Hosseini as it seeks to drive its digital transformation.

Hosseini, who brings with him a wealth of experience having held previous roles at Microsoft Research, Cambridge University and Sky, will report to M&S chief digital and data officer Jeremy Pee and head up a team of 20 data scientists to be recruited in “the near future”.

READ MORE: M&S to offer “buy now, pay later” scheme while admitting fashion turnaround “18 months” behind schedule

He will be responsible for growing M&S’ data capabilities, utilising data from its 7 million Sparks Loyalty members, 11 million M&S.com users, 3 million M&S Bank customers and 1 million Ocado food delivery customers.

“Becoming a digital first business is core to our transformation and as part of this we are looking to build a new, world-class, data science capability that can be deployed to create value across the business,” Pee said.

“I am delighted that Mehdi, who comes with extensive experience, has joined M&S to build and scale this new team.”

The newly created role reflects the retailer’s increasing focus on digital growth as it hopes to offset lacklustre instore sales.

Earlier this week its chief executive Steve Rowe told investors that the turnaround plan for its fashion arm, which has seen seven years of falling sales, was 18 months behind schedule.

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