Marks & Spencer yesterday bought itself some more time to find a permanent replacement for Luc Vandevelde when it said Paul Myners, its interim chairman, would remain in his post for up to another year.
Mr Myners, who played a crucial role in helping the troubled retailer defeat Philip Green's advances, has relinquished two directorships from his burgeoning portfolio to focus on M&S. However, he still has another three chairmanships and a number of non-executive posts.
Investors gave a cautious welcome to the news, which frees the board to concentrate on reviving tumbling clothing and food sales, but they urged M&S to press ahead with the search process. Shares in the group rose 2.25p to 350.5p.
One top 10 shareholder said: "We would like someone else in there but this gives them the breathing space to find someone. M&S needs a chairman who can spend a lot of time there - a full three days a week. It needs someone who can get far more involved and who can keep Stuart [Rose, the chief executive] on a tightish rein."
Mr Myners' remuneration at M&S will increase from £50,000 to the equivalent of £200,000 a year, but he will not be eligible to receive a bonus or any share options. Yesterday he stepped down from the board of mmO2, the mobile phone retailer, and gave up his role as trustee of the Charities Aid Foundation, although he remains chairman of Guardian Media Group and the Tate.
Mr Myners denied his other roles would distract him from the task of chairing M&S. "During the bid, which ran for 52 days, I was in the office for 47 days, which shows I have the ability to flex my timetable to meet requirements," he said, adding his chairmanship would be about "quality rather than quantity".
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