Battling Marks & Spencer is losing another top name, this time to a booming e-commerce textile company, TexYard. Marcus Powell, who has worked for M&S for 12 years, was "head of change", helping to bring the retailer into the 21st century.

But the innovative Mr Powell is leaving M&S shortly to become vice president of match making for the London textile internet exchange company.

An M&S spokesman said the company was sad to lose Mr Powell but had been delighted with the work he had done. The spokesman said: "It's just part of our business. If you recruit the best, then you must expect to lose them at some stage. We've been happy with the work that Mr Powell has done."

Mr Powell said that he is leaving M&S to take up a new opportunity and had not ruled out going back one day. He said: "I am convinced that M&S is about to turn the corner. Many good things have happened inside the company but they have not yet been fully recognised by the outside world.

"I'm not running away from M&S. I may one day consider returning," he is quoted as saying in one press report.

Mr Powell will be responsible for bringing together textile suppliers and retailers across TexYard's internet trading exchange.

By Deborah Bowyer