In Conversation with Kenneth Daly, Head of Selling and Marketing, M&S

This month we are hearing from Kenneth Daly, Head of Selling and Marketing at M&S Ireland.

Please describe your role and responsibilities and how many years you have been in the company

I started in M&S in September 1997 and have worked in Ireland and the UK in my career to date in a variety of roles. My current role is Head of Marketing and Selling for M&S Ireland. This involves leading a team of 10 people to deliver the Trading Plan for our business in Ireland across all our food and clothing areas. It also entails working closely with our UK business to deliver the M&S Brand position in Ireland.

What was your background previously? How did you enter the CSR field?

My background has always being commercial in a Retail sense, but heavily influenced and shaped by the values within M&S. I naturally entered CSR as I’ve seen it first hand through my time at M&S. We are a simple retailer and yet with focus and applying our business acumen and innovation we can transform young people’s lives, local communities or international supply chain standards.

How has the sustainability/CSR programme evolved at your company?

Locally in Ireland over the last 10/15 years we have being involved in 3 areas of CSR which have anchored our programme, specifically:

  • Education and Employability
  • Supporting our Irish Food Supply Base
  • Supporting causes that matter to our customers and staff

Since 2007 we have seen directly how Plan A across our UK and International business has built value for our business and helps us to be fit for the future on a global scale

 What are the challenges you encounter in driving the sustainability agenda and how do you stay inspired?

I think during the ‘golden years of the Celtic tiger’ people were less focused on questioning how business operated. The financial crisis and numerous business scandals has changed that and intense levels of scrutiny, be that from customers, media or regulator is now the norm. As such, acting with integrity is no longer a nice to do, moral choice, it’s a business imperative. We have remained inspired by working with partnerships and great organizations like BITC Ireland who bring different expertise, insight and capabilities from NGO’s, academics and other businesses.

What is your biggest accomplishment or learning so far?

Definitely achieving the Business Working Responsibly Mark in 2014 was our biggest accomplishment in M&S Ireland. From a learning perspective, seeing how the Plan A journey globally has grown and developed through the phases to the point where Plan A 2020 is now our focus.

 What is your motto in life?

To behave at all times with integrity and to always stay in touch with my people, with our customers and especially with the local communities M&S operates in.

What would a perfect day entail for you?

A perfect day would entail me inspiring my own people to live and breathe the values that have made M&S famous over the last 130 years!



Past editions of In Conversation:

Lisa Harlow, External Relations Manager at Intel Ireland

Karina Howley, Head of CSR, KPMG

Pauline McKiernan, Sustainability & Community Affairs Manager, Ulster Bank

Deirdre Kennedy, Corporate Citizenship and Corporate Affairs, IBM


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