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Sir Stuart Rose: Marc Bolland picked to accelerate M&S growth

Marc Bolland, the newly-announced chief executive of Marks & Spencer, was selected for his ability to accelerate growth at the retailer, executive chairman Sir Stuart Rose said tonight.

Speaking at the Drapers WGSN Fashion Summit, Rose said that M&S has completed its turnaround since he took over in 2004, and that now the retailer needed a “driver - and one who can drive fast”.

Rose added: “M&S is a brand with huge potential and we need to translate this to the international arena. Marc understands brands, has international experience and turnaround experience.”

Rose insisted that Bolland’s lack of fashion experience would not pose a problem.

“If he had joined in 2004, he would have needed to get his hands into the nitty-gritty of merchandising. But in 2009, we have a strong team. He doesn’t need
to say that we need a pretty pink frock; he needs to accelerate international growth which represents £165m.”

Rose would not be drawn on whether Bolland had been the retailer’s first choice as chief executive, but pointed out that the M&S share price rose 30p after the announcement was made this morning.

“He was the unanimous choice - nobody remembers who comes second,” Rose said.

Rose added that the process of finding a new chairman would start next spring.

“We need someone who is compatible with Marc and who understands M&S’s brand values.”

Speaking about his own future, Rose said he “doesn’t believe in retirement” but vowed never to do something at this level again.

“Maybe I’ll do something at a smaller brand,” he said.

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