Sainsbury's and M&S end search for finance chiefs

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The Independent Online

J Sainsbury and Marks & Spencer, two retailers trying to turn round their businesses after recent profit warnings, filled gaping holes in their boardrooms yesterday with the appointment of new finance directors.

The supermarket group has poached Darren Shapland from Carpetright, the FTSE 250 carpet retailer, while M&S chose to shun the retail sector, hiring Ian Dyson from the gaming group Rank. Both are relatively young to hold such positions on FTSE 100 companies: Mr Shapland is 38 and Mr Dyson 42. Shares in both companies fell.

Although neither finance director will receive a golden hello, both have been lured by bigger basic salaries plus the possibility of pocketing big bonuses if they hit undisclosed performance targets. Mr Shapland will be paid a £400,000 annual salary plus a potential £320,000 bonus. He will be eligible to join the company's new incentive scheme, worth up to £2m over the next four years if he invests half of his gross salary in shares. In addition, Sainsbury's will compensate him for leaving Carpetright's share option scheme.

Mr Dyson's salary at M&S will be £420,000. If he stays for three years, he will receive shares worth £840,000. Despite yesterday's appointments, there are still several retailers seeking finance directors, including Woolworths and Boots, which joined the melée after confirming that Howard Dodd had tendered his resignation.

Stuart Rose, M&S's chief executive, said he chose Mr Dyson because he was "young and energetic" and had "good experience of managing change". Mr Dyson, who will replace Alison Reed within the next three months, leaves Rank mid-way through the leisure group's attempt to separate its Deluxe film processing arm. Despite announcing its plans more than seven months ago, Rank has still not decided whether to opt for a flotation or a sale.

Sainsbury's has yet to agree on a start date for Mr Shapland, who will leave Carpetright also looking for a finance director. His appointment completes the management shake-up that Justin King started when he took over from Sir Peter Davis as chief executive a year ago. It creates one of the youngest boards in the FTSE 100.

Philip Hampton, the supermarket chain's chairman, said: "Retailing is a young person's business these days." Shares in Sainsbury's closed down 1.75p to 297.5p, while in M&S they slipped 3.5p to 344.75p.

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