Marks and Spencer
M&S boss Marc Bolland is trying to turnaround the company after years of losses Reuters

Marks and Spencer's general merchandise executive director, John Dixon, has quit the company to possibly become a chief executive somewhere else.

The retailer announced that Dixon, chief of the company's struggling merchandise and clothing division, resigned after being in the position since October 2012.

"I have thoroughly enjoyed many happy and successful years at M&S," Dixon said. "I now have the opportunity to become a chief executive and have therefore resigned from this great company. I wish it, and all my colleagues, every continued success."

The company's general merchandise division, weighed down by an outdated womenswear collection that is not generating the revenue it would like, saw sales fall in the first quarter of its 2015-16 financial year, despite chief executive Mark Bolland's plans to turnaround the company.

Dixon worked at the retailer's food division before joining the clothing arm of the retailer, helping sales growth and making a name for Marks and Spencer in that market, which fuelled hopes he would be able to do the same for the general merchandise. Current food chief Steve Rowe is taking over from Dixon.

Rowe has 26 years of experience at the company and Bolland was happy for him to take on the new position.

"Steve has outstanding experience working across the business and is well placed to take the general merchandise business forward. I look forward to continuing to work closely with him," he said.

The company's general merchandise continues to struggle, even though Bolland has managed to grow sales in other divisions. The Dutchman's resolve has provided the results required by shareholders but slow growth is testing their patience.