Sir Stuart Rose, the chairman of Marks & Spencer, has admitted he considered taking the chain private to allow it concentrate on long-term planning.
Speaking to The Sun newspaper about his five year tenure, the outgoing chairman said he thought that M&S might have been “better off” following in the footsteps of John Lewis, which is built on a partnership structure where staff have a stake in the business. He added that such a move may have better reflected the values of M&S.
He said: “One of the beauties about John Lewis is that if they decide to invest for three to four years and the profits go a bit flat, so what. They’re in it for the long term.”
But while he admires the department store chain’s structure, he went on to say that comparing it with M&S was like comparing a “sardine with a sperm whale”.
Rose added that he did not want M&S to become like supermarket chains Tesco and Sainsbury’s. “I don’t give a stuff that I haven’t gone out and screwed a supplier today if it means I prostitute the values of the business for tomorrow.”
Hitting back at his critics in the City, Rose said that M&S is criticised because it has become the “NHS of the high street”. That said, he said new chief executive Marc Bolland was inheriting a business in good shape.
Rose will remain at M&S until next March.