James Moore: Bostock takes the M&S bullet for Bolland

  • @TheIndyBusiness

Outlook Poor Kate Bostock. The head of clothing at M&S failed to heed Leahy's Law, after Sir Terry, the former chief executive of Tesco.

It states that for senior executives when you depart is just as important as what you do: Tesco announced the now sainted retailer's retirement in March 2011. That was less than a year before it emerged the grocer's core UK business was suffering a severe bout of indigestion for which his successor is now carrying the can.

In failing to make a move quickly enough, she was left in the firing line and so had to take a bullet for Marc Bolland, her chief executive.

Sadly for Mr Bolland, the wolves are still hungry and they've every reason to be. He is the man in charge and he is the man who was handed an enormous golden hello by shareholders when he was hired away from Morrison's the grocer to do the job.

There are those who will argue Mr Bolland can't be blamed, that the weather hasn't worked in his favour and he should have been able to rely on subordinates who weren't shy of a bonus or two themselves. But if that is the case, why on earth is he being lavished with such a grandiose package? Some of the retail shareholders at yesterday's AGM clearly felt that way.

Fortunately, for Mr Bolland, it's the big institutions in the City that count. He's lucky that lots of fund managers at those big institutions failed their economics classes so apparently can't work out that paying millions for mediocrity doesn't do all that much for your funds.

They will have to act eventually, though. Disappointing trading statements are becoming a habit and even the most indulgent of institutions will eventually have to decide it's time to disappoint Mr Bolland by showing him the door.