Sir Richard considers writing book to set M&S record straight

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The Independent Online

Sir Richard Greenbury, the former chairman of Marks & Spencer, is considering writing a book about his life and career at M&S in an attempt to set the record straight.

Sir Richard was angered by the contents of a recent book entitled The Rise & Fall of Marks & Spencer by the business journalist Judi Bevan. He felt that the book was unduly harsh on him.

The combative former M&S chairman believes a book detailing his own account of events at the retail group would help balance the criticism in Ms Bevan's version.

As well as chronicling his lifelong career at M&S, Sir Richard's book would cover his other activities, such as his chairmanship of the Government report on pay which became known as the Greenbury Report. It would also include his views on the City and financial institutions.

It is understood that at least two publishers have expressed an interest in what would essentially be Sir Richard's autobiography. However, Sir Richard is believed to be concerned that writing such a book would become a mud-slinging affair which would be fiercely critical of a number of people involved with the company. But he is also aware that pulling his punches would make the book not worth writing.

He has been canvassing friends for their opinions. While some say he should go ahead with the book, others have said that it would be a mistake. When asked to comment on the possibility of a book, Sir Richard said: "I am considering it. Quite a lot of people have suggested that I should do it. But so far I have decided not to."

The use of the words "so far" indicates that he may yet change his mind.

Sir Richard became the chairman of M&S in 1991 and retired two years ago after a sharp fall in profits. He is currently recovering from an operation on his shoulder which he injured in a fall.

M&S profits grew to £1bn plus under Sir Richard but then crumbled as the group lost its way. The company has started to recover recently with a small rise in profits and growing sales. Shares in M&S have doubled in the past year, making them one of the best performers on the FTSE 100 index.

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