Greenbury stays at M&S after crisis board meeting

SIR RICHARD GREENBURY will be staying on at Marks & Spencer after a crisis board meeting last night to decide the management succession at Britain's biggest retailer.

M&S is due to make an official announcement on the decision today. However, it is known that Sir Richard, the company's chairman, will remain at the group. Fellow directors had feared that he might leave if he did not get his way in the power struggle.

It has also emerged that there will be no power-sharing arrangement between the two challengers for the chief executive position, Keith Oates, deputy chairman, and Peter Salsbury, joint managing director. This ends speculation that the two might be made joint chief executives with Sir Richard as chairman. Sir Richard's favoured outcome has been for Mr Salsbury to succeed him. It was not clear last night if any directors were leaving the company.

Today's statement will end several weeks of fevered speculation about who will lead Marks & Spencer into the next millennium. Sir Richard, 62, is due to retire in 2001 and has been under intense pressure to separate his combined roles of chairman and chief executive.

In a break with its somewhat stuffy approach to public relations, M&S has hired Alan Parker, one of the City's top spin doctors, to handle today's announcement. Mr Parker, who heads Brunswick public relations, was at the Baker Street offices in London yesterday evening as the board prepared its statement.

It was a day of tense drama at Baker Street as directors came and went in chauffeur-driven limousines. David Sieff, a non-executive director and a descendant of one of the company's founding families, arrived in a Mercedes. Sir Martin Jacomb, chairman of the Prudential and head of the non-executive committee, followed in a chauffeur-driven Bentley. Most of the directors swept into the building via an underground car park and declined to give comments to waiting reporters.

The battle of Baker Street has been an extraordinary saga which has engulfed the usually staid retail giant in a wave of speculation and boardroom infighting.

The seeds of the current row were sown back in the spring when Sir Richard declared that the rest of the M&S board had asked him to stay on as chairman until he is 65.

This was subsequently disputed by a fellow director, who said that no decision had been taken. The issue subsided again until this month when M&S reported a sharp fall in profits and said it had still not decided on who would take over from Sir Richard on his retirement.

The City began to demand answers. Soon the board appeared to split into two camps. As Sir Richard began to push for his chosen successor, Mr Salsbury, to accede to the throne, Mr Oates started to press his case.

Sir Richard jetted off to India for a supplier visit-cum-holiday. While he was away, Mr Oates presented his grand plan for the business to the company's non-executive directors. His supporters leaked his views to the press and all hell was let loose.

A furious Sir Richard cut short his trip to India and the rest of the board were called back to Baker Street for a crunch meeting.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Kim Wilde began gardening in the 1990s when she moved to the countryside
peopleThe singer is leading an appeal for the charity Thrive, which uses the therapy of horticulture
Alexis Sanchez celebrates scoring a second for Arsenal against Reading
Life and Style
An easy-peel potato; Dave Hax has come up with an ingenious method in food preparation
voicesDave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Japan's population is projected to fall dramatically in the next 50 years (Wikimedia)
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...

Ashdown Group: IT Manager / Development Manager - NW London - £58k + 15% bonus

£50000 - £667000 per annum + excellent benefits : Ashdown Group: IT Manager / ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Consultant / Telemarketer - OTE £20,000

£13000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Scotland's leading life insuran...

Ashdown Group: Training Programme Manager - City, London

£40000 - £45000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Training Programme Manag...

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own