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Sir Stuart Rose, Executive chairman, Marks & Spencer

Sir Stuart Rose incurred the wrath of Marks & Spencer shareholders this year, who were angered when he appointed himself executive chairman of the group. M&S’s sales have nose-dived and Rose has come under fire for his strategy of chasing volume through opening price points.

Rose’s £1 billion store refurbishment programme has also been criticised for failing to deliver sufficient returns, while clothing market share is falling in some categories and like-for-like sales continue to slide, resulting in M&S’s first pre-Christmas discount days for four years.

Rose was one of the first to forecast how serious the downturn was, predicting it would last into 2009. His task next year is to find and appoint a chief executive that meets with the City’s approval. It won’t be easy.

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