Supermarket boss to take helm at M&S
Marks & Spencer today named the highly-regarded boss of supermarket chain Morrisons as its new chief executive.
Marc Bolland succeeds M&S executive chairman Sir Stuart Rose who will continue at the firm as part-time chairman.
The 50-year-old Dutchman joined Morrisons in 2006 as chief executive and has transformed the once-ailing chain into the fastest growing of the big four grocers.
He will take up his position in the new year at a time and on terms to be confirmed.
His strong reputation in the City was highlighted by the share prices of the two firms following today's announcement, with M&S up 6 per cent and Morrisons down 4 per cent.
M&S's succession plans have been the subject of speculation since Sir Stuart stated his intention to leave the company by July 2011 at the latest.
The relationship between M&S and its shareholders was already 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.
Senior managers including clothing head Kate Bostock, financial director Ian Dyson and food division chief John Dixon were all seen as potential candidates for the job of chief executive.
The company's first investor day in a decade last month was billed in the City as a "beauty parade" for the internal candidates.
But in the end it was Mr Bolland's achievements at Morrisons which caught the eye of the M&S board.
Mr Bolland was previously chief operating officer at Heineken, based in the Netherlands. He held a number of senior roles at Heineken over the last 20 years, including responsibility for brand and marketing strategies.
Sir Stuart said: "I am delighted that Marc is to be M&S's next chief executive. He brings a wealth of consumer marketing experience and has made a great success of his time at Morrisons."
Mr Bolland said: "M&S is one of the world's great brands and I am very pleased to be given the opportunity to lead the company forward at this exciting stage. I am greatly looking forward to working closely with Stuart and the M&S team."
Morrisons, which has about 400 stores and 124,000 staff, has outperformed the supermarket sector in recent months, with till roll growth of 8.5% in the 12 weeks to November 1, according to TNS Worldpanel figures.
The chain recently stepped up its expansion with the acquisition of stores from the Co-operative Group following the latter's takeover of Somerfield.
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.
The company's problems stemmed from its takeover of Safeway in 2004, but in March Morrisons announced a 7% hike in full-year profits to £655 million.
Morrisons said Mr Bolland will remain as its chief executive until the end of the company's financial year in late January. It has started the search for a replacement, with internal and external candidates set to be considered.
Chairman Sir Ian Gibson added: "The Morrisons Group has a strong and capable senior management team who will continue to deliver the business strategy which has enabled Morrisons to achieve market leading growth this year whilst the board identifies a suitable successor.
"I would like to thank Marc for his contribution over the last three years."
While M&S has weathered the recession in decent shape, Mr Bolland will have a key job in positioning it for any upturn in economic conditions.
Sam Hart, a retail analyst at Charles Stanley Stockbrokers, welcomed Mr Bolland's appointment but said his lack of experience in clothing markets could be an issue.
"He really understands the food and beverage markets, but he has no track record in clothing, so from that point of view, he has got a lot to prove," added Mr Hart.
- 1 Paris attacks: Do not call Charlie Hebdo killers 'terrorists', BBC says
- 2 Man who held up 'hire me' sign at Waterloo station returns a year later with 'I'm hiring' sign
- 5 The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
Paris attacks: Do not call Charlie Hebdo killers 'terrorists', BBC says
Rowan Atkinson to sell £10 million McLaren 'supercar' he crashed into a tree and a lamppost
UK weather: Snow to fall in the coming week with sub-zero temperatures to last until early February
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Howard 'Mr Nice' Marks reveals he has inoperable cancer: 'I've had an incredible life'
Nigel Farage: NHS might have to be replaced by private health insurance
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
George Galloway condemns 'racist, Islamophobic, hypocritical rag' Charlie Hebdo at freedom of speech rally
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
iJobs Money & Business
£30000 - £32000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, int...
£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This rapidly expanding business...
£25 - 28k + Bonus: Guru Careers: An In-house / Internal Recruiter is needed to...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Tax Assistant is required to join a leading ...