Marks & Spencer has poached the chief executive of Tesco’s online operations, Laura Wade-Gery.

By hiring her as executive director of multi-channel and e-commerce, and placing her on the company’s board, M&S hopes to drive forward its online sales. The company is targeting a doubling of its online revenues to between £800 million and £1 billion by 2014.

Wade-Gery was chief executive of and Tesco Direct, and was promoted only last month to commercial director for clothing, electricals and general merchandise.

Observers described the move as a blow for Tesco, which next month will switch leadership from outgoing chief executive Terry Leahy to Philip Clarke, formerly an IT director at the supermarket chain.

Marc Bolland, M&S chief executive, said the new appointment of Wade-Gery was in line with “plans we announced last November to grow our multi-channel e-commerce business both in the UK and internationally”.

M&S is building a new platform for online sales, replacing an existing hosted setup from supplier Amazon in 2013. It is also introducing dedicated country websites in key markets over the next year.

Last November, the company raised IT and supply chain savings targets by a fifth to £300 million, as work progresses on an SAP rollout with services firm IBM. Under plan called Project 2020, in which the retailer said it would “transform” IT and distribution, it will aim to save £125 million from direct technology costs and £175 million from its supply chain.