Marks and Spencer's (M&S) executive director for multichannel, Laura Wade-Gery, will be on maternity leave from 1 September, it was announced this week.

Until her return to the business in early January 2016, the executive team will share out her responsibilities, which since last summer have included overall management of the company's 800+ store network, in addition to overseeing its online operations.

As part of the maternity leave changes, Sacha Berendji, director of retail, and David Walmsley, director of M&S.com, will report temporarily to M&S CEO Marc Bolland.

Helen Weir, chief finance officer, will be responsible for eCommerce distribution for four months, which spans the crucial Christmas trading period.

Wade-Gery, who many analysts have tipped to eventually become Bolland's replacement as group CEO, was recently named as a non-executive director at property firm British Land.