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M&S shareholder gives thumbs-up to Swannell's appointment

Marks & Spencer’s largest shareholder has welcomed the appointment of its new chairman Robert Swannell.

Amelia Morris, US-based fund manager at Brandes Investment Partners, which holds just over 7% of M&S, said the former co-chairman of Citigroup’s European investment bank, should gel well with new chief executive Marc Bolland.

She told The Daily Telegraph: “I haven’t met him. From what I know of his CV, [he’ll make] a good combination with Marc.” She added that his appointment was “well-received”.

The endorsement will be welcome news for Marks & Spencer. Swannell was not an obvious choice for some as he has not chaired a FTSE 100 company before.

His appointment was also supported from other areas. Sir Richard Greenbury, who ran M&S in the 1990s, said the appointment was based on “well-considered judgement” and should help with the chain’s often fractious relationship with the City.

He told the paper: “M&S’s relationship with the City has really never been any good. This fellow has all the credentials. The City can’t complain about this fellow…but they will.”

Swannell joins the M&S board as a non-executive director on October 4. He will become chairman on January 4 and Sir Stuart Rose will leave the company on the same day, just two days before the retailer releases its crucial Christmas trading update.

Swannell is to be paid £450,000 a year, almost 50% less than Rose is paid in the role.

Swannell yesterday resigned as a non-executive director of landlord British Land and private equity company 3i. He will remain chairman of HMVGroup.

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