Newnham will initially be focused on indirect spend including property, marketing, technology and logistics © Marks & Spencer PLC
Newnham will initially be focused on indirect spend including property, marketing, technology and logistics © Marks & Spencer PLC

Andrew Newnham to head up procurement at M&S

After almost a decade at the broadcast media company ITV, Andrew Newnham is leaving to head up procurement at food, clothing and homewares retailer Marks & Spencer.

Newnham, who says he thrives on change and delivers in fast-moving businesses, will join the major British retailer in April, initially focused on indirect spend including property, marketing, technology and logistics. “The role is, for the first time, reporting to the CFO,” he told SM. “That will bring with it increased profile with the intention that I look at a wider remit of cost efficiency across the business.”

In his current position is as ITV’s director of business efficiency and group procurement, Newnham reports to the board. He says he has made ITV agile and simple to do business with, while putting cost and operational productivity improvement on the daily agenda with key stakeholders. 

M&S, which started as a penny bazaar in Leeds in 1884 selling items like screws, soap and wooden spoons for a penny, has grown to become a multichannel retailer listed on the FTSE100. Like many others it was hit by a fall in sales over Christmas; in its case it experienced a 2.2% dip. Chief executive Steve Rowe said in January’s trading statement that improvements to its online proposition and operations helped it mitigate lower footfall. One tech announcement made later that month was the launch of ‘Style Finder’, a photo search feature enabling customers to find a ‘look’ within a couple of taps. And the business has signed a deal with home delivery business Ocado to deliver its groceries.

When Newnham joined ITV in 2009 it was at the start of a transformation that would see its share price rise from less than 20p to more than £2.60 in five years. The CIPS fellow and past chair of judges for the CIPS Supply Management Awards was brought in as head of technology sourcing in June 2009 to deliver an outsourcing strategy for the technology and IT teams. Over the course of 18 months he managed the RFP and negotiated an output-based deal covering the company’s tech capability, including applications development and maintenance, infrastructure and workplace service support, which delivered more than £9m of annual savings to the bottom line. 

During his eight years as group procurement director at ITV, a key achievement was to overhaul the function. He did this by building relationships with executives and aligning procurement’s aims with the business; connecting what was achieved in purchasing to company success (and gaining influence over 72% of spend, up from 40%). He also introduced a new procurement model in broadcast and studio management to outsource post-production and streamlined the supplier base, which removed more than £100m from the P&L. “Savings are now reported as part of the annual reporting process and are a key contributor to the turnaround of the business and procurement is now seen as a key part of ITV’s success,” he said.

In the past few years, new developments at the broadcaster have included proof of concept of new technology including an AI and a robotics system, as well as exploring ways to remove the onus on the legal department to carry out repetitive contract work for on-screen talent.  “No-one knows where the TV industry will end up in 10 years’ time so you need to be entrepreneurial and set trends in a digital marketplace and if you fail, you fail quickly and move on,” said Newnham.

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