Speculation that Marks & Spencer chairman Sir Stuart Rose could leave the retailer early has mounted.
M&S previously said that Rose was committed to staying at the retailer until 2011. However, at the announcement of the retailer’s annual results last week, Rose said that he would leave in 2011 “at the latest”.
According to The Times newspaper yesterday, Rose has told friends he would like to step down as soon as a successor is found, completing just a brief handover period.
The remarks, along with an interview in The Daily Telegraph over the weekend in which Rose talked about the toll of his career on his personal life, have fuelled speculation that Rose could leave M&S early.
Succession plans at M&S have become increasingly unclear. Two of the potential internal front runners Carl Leaver and Steve Esom have both now left the company.
M&S finance director Ian Dyson, who was last week given the extra responsibility of overseeing the retailer’s new “2020 - Doing the Right Thing” strategy, is now seen as the most likely internal candidate but the City could react badly to that as Dyson is viewed as too close to Rose.
M&S deputy chairman Sir David Michels is leading the recruitment process. External names mooted for the chief executive role include Sainsbury’s chief executive Justin King and Asda chief executive Andy Bond. However King ruled himself out earlier this month while Bond said he was “genuinely not interested” in the job in the weekend newspapers.
Kim Winser, who left her role of chief executive of Aquascutum on Friday, has also been linked with the job.