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Supermarket bosses remain favourites for top M&S job

Asda chief executive Andy Bond and Sainsbury’s boss Justin King remain industry first choices to become the next Marks & Spencer chief executive, despite both seemingly ruling themselves out of the running.

The question of Sir Stuart Rose’s (pictured) successor took on a new urgency this week after Rose said he would stay at the retailer until 2011 “at the latest”. This was interpreted as a change to his original stated intention of remaining at Marks & Spencer until that date.

Bond, who told The Sunday Times he was “not interested”, has been tipped by insiders as being a frontrunner. Moira Benigson, managing partner at recruitment firm The MBS Group, said: “Andy Bond has done food and clothing and Marks & Spencer needs to understand both sides.”

Sainsbury’s chief executive King is also a favourite, despite saying at Sainsbury’s full-year results that he would not quit the grocer.

One industry insider said. “Andy Bond could be tempted. But Justin King is still the frontrunner. Ben Gordon [Mothercare chief executive] could also be considered.”

The exit of international director Carl Leaver last week, who was the favourite internal candidate, has left finance director Ian Dyson as seemingly the only internal candidate. Speculation that Kim Winser, who left luxury brand Aquascutum last week, could return to Marks & Spencer was dismissed.

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