Marc Bolland looks set to join Marks and Spencer earlier in the new year than anticipated.
As The Independent on Sunday predicted a fortnight ago, the directors of supermarket group William Morrison decided he should take "gardening leave" until starting as chief executive of M&S. Just when that will be depends partly on how soon he can thrash out his leaving terms.
Bolland earned £1.7m last year and has a 12-month contract which includes some long-term incentives and around £4m of shares which he is expected to forego, "In these situations, it is normal for the recruiting company to pick up the tab for what their new man will have to give up," said one head-hunter implying a generous "golden hello".
The news helped push M&S shares through 400p – the price that Philip Green had offered to pay in 2004.
At Morrison, head-hunters MWM is searching for a chief executive. But support is said to be growing for the finance director, Richard Pennycook, to step up.