New M&S boss to get golden hello worth £3.9m

Marks & Spencer's new boss Marc Bolland will start in May on a near-£1 million salary and a "golden hello" worth £3.9 million in shares, the retailer announced today.

The former Morrisons chief executive has been released six months early from his 12 month contract with the supermarket to take on the top job at M&S on May 1.

His £975,000 salary is just short of current M&S boss Sir Stuart Rose's £1.13 million basic pay, but M&S said it would pay cash and shares awards worth up to a potential £6.3 million - including an "exceptional" long-term incentive award worth 400% of salary in his first year.

Mr Bolland will also pick up cash and shares payments worth £7.5 million in lieu of payments he would have received at Morrisons.

Mr Bolland's annual pay package includes a bonus worth up to 250 per cent of salary and a long-term incentive shares award which has been boosted to the maximum 400 per cent level as an initial joining perk.

His additional payments in lieu of awards due from Morrisons will see him pick up an immediate cash handout of £1.6 million and £1 million worth of shares, plus deferred share awards worth another £4.9 million.

Today's announcement comes after Morrisons named Dalton Philips, a former executive for US giant and ASDA owner Wal-Mart, as Mr Bolland's replacement last week.

M&S's incoming chief executive has been on gardening leave from Morrisons since early December and holding talks to negotiate an early departure.

He handed in his year's notice in November to join M&S and end the group's hunt for a successor to current chief executive and chairman Sir Stuart, who will stay on as part-time chairman.

Mr Bolland joined Morrisons in 2006 as chief executive and has transformed the once-ailing chain into the fastest growing of the big four grocers.

The 50-year-old Dutchman was previously chief operating officer at Heineken, based in the Netherlands.

He held a number of senior roles at Heineken over the past 20 years, including responsibility for brand and marketing strategies.

As part of Mr Bolland's turnaround strategy, Morrisons rebranded its stores, launched an advertising campaign featuring celebrities Denise Van Outen and Richard Hammond and staged promotions such as Sunday lunch for four for £4.

Morrisons, which has about 400 stores and 124,000 staff, has outperformed the supermarket sector in recent months, notching up a 6.5 per cent leap in Christmas sales that trumped the 4.9 per cent seen at Tesco and the 4.2 per cent at Sainsbury's.

It also recently stepped up its expansion with the acquisition of stores from the Co-operative Group following the latter's takeover of Somerfield.

His appointment at M&S was hailed as a coup by experts, while it also ended uncertainty over Sir Stuart's succession plans, which had been the subject of speculation since he stated his intention to leave the company by July 2011 at the latest.

The relationship between M&S and its shareholders was under strain due to Sir Stuart's appointment as executive chairman - combining two roles in breach of corporate best practice - more than a year ago.