Belfast Telegraph

M&S ends speculation by picking Swannell as chairman

Marks & Spencer has confirmed Robert Swannell as its next chairman, bringing to a close months of speculation and the more than six-year tenure of Sir Stuart Rose.

Mr Swannell, who is currently the chair of entertainment retailer HMV, will join M&S as a non-executive director on October 4 and after a handover period will take the reins as chairman on January 4, when Sir Stuart will head for the exit.

Sir Stuart hired Mr Swannell, who was then at the investment bank Citi, to help fend off a hostile £9.4bn takeover bid by the retail tycoon Sir Philip Green in 2004.

As non-executive chairman, Mr Swannell will receive a basic salary of £450,000, as well as a car and driver, and is expected to work up to three days a week.

His salary represents a 43% reduction on the £875,000 that M&S pays Sir Stuart, who is the best-paid chairman in the FTSE 100. The salary of Sir Stuart - who has at times had a rocky relationship with the City, particularly over the dual role he took in 2008 - was a source of controversy among certain investors.

Mr Swannell said: "It is a privilege to chair one of the world's greatest brands."

It emerged yesterday that Mr Swannell will give up his non-executive roles at the property company British Land and the private equity firm 3i.

The signing of Mr Swannell is the final piece in the top team jigsaw for Marc Bolland, who took the helm at M&S in May after jumping ship from the grocer Morrisons.