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Ex-M&S chief Sir Richard Greenbury dies

Former Marks & Spencer chief executive and chairman Sir Richard Greenbury died on 26 September, aged 81.

The outspoken businessman worked at the high street chain for 46 years, having first joined M&S aged 16 as a junior management trainee.

He worked his way up to the top to eventually lead the retailer as chief executive and chairman for a decade from 1988, before dividing the roles in 1999.

He resigned as executive chairman six months later in June of that year.

After stepping down, Greenbury served as a director of Lloyds TSB, British Gas, ICI and Zeneca and was a member of the supervisory board at Koninklijke Philips Electronics, before he retired in 2010.

Greenbury held a crucial role in expanding M&S from a British retailer into an international business, taking it past the £1bn profit mark under his leadership.

A well-respected businessman and Manchester United supporter, Greenbury is fondly remembered by colleagues and staff that have worked with him.

Former M&S executive chairman, Lord Stuart Rose, told Drapers: “Rick was the last of what you’d describe as the ’merchant princes’ of M&S, and the last of what I would call the M&S ’royalty’. He was a true merchant who loved the business.

“He had a reputation for being a bit bad-tempered – he had a big bark and a big bite – but he had a pretty big, soft heart too. He was proud to be [leading] the brand and defended it fiercely.”

Greenbury was renowned for sending out “Rickograms” – strongly-worded diatribes primarily sent to business journalists.

M&S chief executive, Steve Rowe, said: “We are very sad to hear of the passing of our former chairman, Sir Richard Greenbury. He will be fondly remembered as one of the great retailers of our time and was a much loved member of the M&S family.

“I reflect happily on my time with Sir Rick - we met most recently a few weeks ago when he spoke passionately about the business. He will be greatly missed in many ways, but particularly for his large personality, his rich M&S insight and of course, his famous ‘Rickograms’, which were delivered frequently and with gusto.

“Our thoughts and deepest sympathies are with Sir Rick’s family at this time.”

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