Jill McDonald, the boss of Halfords, is missing out on £1.7m of bonuses from the bikes and car parts retailer as she jumps ship to Marks & Spencer.

However, the executive, who will have spent only two and a half years at Halfords, is unlikely to feel shortchanged as M&S’s policy is to offer payments or buyout awards to new recruits to make up for bonuses missed at their former employer.

McDonald joins M&S as managing director of its clothing, home & beauty division in October. Her total pay slid by just over £110,000 to £741,412 as she missed out on an annual bonus after resigning from Halfords in May.

She was in line to receive about £255,000, equivalent to half her base salary this year. McDonald will also forgo £1.16m in potential long-term bonus share awards, which stretched to 2019, a third of last year’s bonus, which had been deferred in shares worth £53,130, and about £260,000 related to compensation for missed bonuses at her previous employer the fast food chain McDonalds.

M&S’s annual report says: “Where an individual forfeits outstanding variable pay opportunities or contractual rights at a previous employer as a result of appointment, the [company] may offer compensatory payments or buy-out awards, dependent on the individual circumstances of recruitment, determined on a case-by-case basis.”

The appointment of a clothing industry novice has been seen as controversial. McDonald, who will be heading up the biggest clothing retailer in the UK, began her career at the health and beauty group Colgate-Palmolive before spending 16 years at British Airways and nearly a decade with McDonald’s.