The M&S affair is over, so what will George do now?

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The Independent Online

George Davies, the man behind Next and George at Asda, was responsible for the Per Una womenswear range, an instant success that remains at the forefront of Mr Rose's turnaround. M&S bought the rights to Per Una for £125m last year.

But the two were unable to agree terms to renew Mr Davies's consultancy contract - it is rumoured he wanted £150m - and he quit. So, once the 63-year-old's 12-month notice period is up, will he sit back and enjoy the wealth he has accrued? He is reportedly considering a charity project, but few believe he will be able to drag himself away from the high street. The Independent on Sunday has canvassed retail experts to see what they think George will do next.

Richard Ratner, analyst at Seymour Pierce

"As little as possible, I would imagine. What's going to be really interesting is what happens in the next few months. I suspect he might have a big falling out with M&S - I wouldn't be surprised if this ends up in court. He will lose interest [in] working this year out."

Archie Norman, former chairman of Asda

"I talked to him recently and the one thing that is fairly certain is that he will do something. There's life in the old dog yet. He's now in a situation where he's his own man. Nobody knows what he will do, not even George, but he could do whatever he likes. He doesn't need to be anyone's partner. He has proven himself at least three times over."

Sir Tom Hunter, Scottish entrepreneur and Bhs shareholder

"It will be something substantial, creative and innovative - that's his trademark, he's always looked at things from a different point of view. I don't think he will [retire], though he's more than entitled to. There are a lot of retailers moving into clothing who need help - Sainsbury's would be an obvious one, but would he want to do that again? I'm not sure."

Kevin Hawkins, director-general of the British Retail Consortium

"People like him, who are basically free spirits, can only take so much from a plc before wanting to do things on their own. Unless of course someone is going to make him an offer he can't refuse. Next is struggling but it's changed; it's a different operation. It will probably be some sort of concession. But it all depends on how hungry he is."

Richard Hyman, chairman of the retail research consultancy Verdict

"Philip Green has done a phenomenal job and all credit to him - he's made far more money than anyone else in retail. But George Davies is the retail star of the last 20 years. He has so much energy, is so driven, that he will definitely create some kind of clothing business. I'm sure he would rather do it on his own but he's not getting any younger - will he want to risk capital? I can't see him getting into bed with someone, but then again, you never know."

Jonathan Pitkanen, retail director at Fitch (credit agency)

"Count his cash? I don't think he's going to start anything in the current market - it's grim out there. So I think he will keep his powder dry and see what happens. But he's done so much, and after M&S it's hard to go any higher in terms of retail presence."

Philip Green

Declined to comment, but a well-placed source confirmed Mr Davies was not being lined up for a job at Bhs.

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