Belfast Telegraph

Stuart Rose ends six-year reign at Marks & Spencer

Sir Stuart Rose will step down as chairman of Marks and Spencer today, bringing his six-year tenure with the high street giant to a close.

The 61-year-old has had an eventful leadership, attracting both praise and criticism since he joined the retailer in 2004.

Sir Stuart was revered for steering the firm to profits of £1bn in 2008, but was vilified for taking on the dual role of chairman and chief executive, and over- excessive boardroom pay.

Former City banker Robert Swannell, who was a lead advisor to M-amp;S in the defence against retail tycoon Sir Philip Green's takeover bid in 2004, will replace Sir Stuart as chairman, while former Morrisons boss Marc Bolland continues as chief executive.

Sir Stuart will take on an advisory role at private equity firm Bridgepoint after his departure.

While he brought in key talent to drive a revival of M&S clothing ranges after taking up the helm, his role, combining chairman and chief executive, raised the ire of many investors as it breached corporate best practice.

Following an "apprenticeship" at M-amp;S starting as a management trainee in 1972, he worked with a number of high-profile retailers.

But it was when he joined Arcadia as chief executive in November 2000 that he cemented his reputation as a major player by turning around the company, which was lumbered with more than £250m debt when he joined.

Sir Stuart presided over the sale of Arcadia to Sir Philip Green for £855m in 2002, making £25m out of the deal himself.