GUS offered Argos chief chance to stay

GREAT Universal Stores, which last month triumphed in its pounds 1.9bn bid for Argos, revealed yesterday that it had offered Stuart Rose the chance to remain as chief executive of the catalogue retailer but that he had turned the offer down.

Mr Rose was only appointed as Argos chief executive after GUS had launched its bid in February. He was initially appointed in a temporary capacity because of the illness of Mike Smith. However, he impressed the City and Lord Wolfson, GUS's chairman, with the robust nature of his defence and his ideas for taking Argos forward.

GUS offered Mr Rose the opportunity to run Argos as a GUS subsidiary. However, it is thought that Mr Rose is keen to run his own show and will now look for another chief executive position. Under the terms of his contract he will be eligible for a total of pounds 540,000 for less than three months' work.

Graham Frost, deputy chief executive of GUS home shopping, will run Argos until a chief executive is found. It is understood that Mr Frost, who is based in Manchester, does not want the job permanently as he is reluctant to relocate to Milton Keynes.