The Business On: Sir Stuart Rose, Chairman, Mobile Money Network

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The Independent Online

He looks strangely familiar

Yes, you may remember Sir Stuart from his seven-year stint at the helm of Marks & Spencer, a post he relinquished in January.

So this is his new gig?

Well, one of them anyway. Mobile Money Network is a joint venture between the electronic payments specialist Monetise, the US retailer Best Buy, and the British company Carphone Warehouse. It's in talks with a string of leading retailers (most of whom, presumably, Sir Stuart knows well).

How did they get his services?

Well, he likes the business, of course, but friendship played a part too. Carphone Warehouse boss Charles Dunstone, one of the leading figures behind Mobile Money Network, is a long-time friend. Sir Stuart was an usher at his wedding a couple of years ago (the best man that day, advertising executive Johnny Hornby, is also a non-executive director of the new business).

But this isn't going to be a full-time job?

No – Sir Stuart was executive chairman of M&S, but will be only a non-executive here. And he does have other fish to fry. It emerged at the weekend that he's taken a stake in The Hut, the group that runs internet operations on behalf of several retailers, and also owns brands such as Zavvi these days. And he's already signed up as a non-executive director at Woolworth's, the South African retailer, and as an adviser to private equity firm Bridgepoint.

Any other irons in the fire?

There's speculation Sir Stuart might become the chief executive of Formula One. And for a man known for his quick wit and easy-going charm, the media is an obvious option. There has been some talk of him fronting a business-related television show.

Does he still enjoy a party?

So it would seem. A famous regular at Annabel's nightclub during his tenure at M&S, Sir Stuart enjoyed London Fashion Week earlier this month. He was spotted in the front row at a number of shows, as well as at the after-parties.