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M&S plays down talk of split

MARKS & SPENCER yesterday played down reports of a board split and confirmed that its executive chairman, Sir Richard Greenbury, would stay on until he reaches 65 in four years' time. The retailer said it was the board's unanimous wish that Sir Richard stay until he is 65. M&S said it had made the statement as a result of recent press comment on the question of the chairman's retirement and successor. "The board discusses the issues relating to organisation and succession on an ongoing basis including the roles of chairman and chief executive." the statement said.

Press speculation about the succession intensified recently following a reshuffle of the four top managing directors. It has included suggestions that M&S might consider splitting the role of chairman and chief executive. But on Tuesday, Sir Richard said there was no deep meaning behind the management changes and they were simply designed to give managers experience of different areas of the business. - Reuters