The Local Authority Pension Fund Forum (LAPFF) has filed a resolution calling for Marks & Spencer to appoint an independent chairman by July 2010, as Sir Stuart Rose comes under increasing pressure to relinquish his dual chief executive and executive chairman role.
Rose, who took on the dual role last year, has been criticised for failing to adhere to best practice corporate governance, and wielding too much power at M&S in his new role.
The Telegraph newspaper said the LAPFF resolution would enable shareholders to ensure the company upheld corporate governance best practice, without having to vote against Rose.
This weekend, The Observer newspaper, reported that former Asda bosses Allan Leighton and Archie Norman, has expressed interest in taking on the M&S chairman role should it become available.
Shareholder concern over Rose’s role has mounted as M&S’ performance deteriorates in the recession. Tomorrow, M&S is expected to say that like-for-like sales have fallen 7% in the fourth quarter. Clothing sales are expected to be worse, with reports suggesting they have fallen by more than 9% on a comparable basis. Analysts are forecasting a 40% fall in profits to between £570 million and £600m as well as a possible dividend cut.
The Observer also said that Rose would like to step down from M&S within the next 12 months. Rose has to step down by the summer of 2011.