Rearguard action to save Oates
Monday 16 November 1998
It was being said over the weekend that M&S's non-executive directors, led by Sir Martin Jacomb, were ready to order Mr Oates's immediate departure for splitting the retail giant down the middle by publicly lobbying to succeed Sir Richard Greenbury when he divides his roles as chairman and chief executive.
Sir Richard, who was forced to cut short a holiday to India last week to fly back and tackle the succession crisis, favours giving the chief executive's job to Peter Salsbury, who, along with Mr Oates, is one of four joint managing directors of M&S.
But sources close to Mr Oates insisted yesterday that he still had support on the board and, moreover, had not been running a one-man campaign to take over the top job against the wishes of Sir Richard.
"Keith's chances of survival this week are considerably better than 50:50. He has quite a few supporters inside and outside the executive ranks, nor does he seem to be under any pressure to fall on his sword," said a source close to the company. "There was a widely held perception that he was running his own lobbying campaign, but that does not appear to be true and the non-executives seem inclined to accept that. He seems to have been unjustly tarred with the disloyalty brush."
It was said that, far from promoting his own candidature, supporters of Mr Oates within M&S spoke out in his favour after being "horrified" at the prospect of the Greenbury-Salsbury ticket.
The company is under intense pressure to clear the air with a public statement this week, perhaps as soon as today.
Mr Oates is said to have more backing from other executive directors on the board than Mr Salsbury. The other internal candidate for the job of chief executive is Chris Littmoden, who runs M&S's American operations and is credited with having turned its Brooks Brothers subsidiary around.
It is thought that if he were to miss out on the top job, Mr Littmoden and another of the joint managing directors, Lord Stone of Blackheath, would line up behind Mr Oates.
However, given the highly public and damaging nature of the schism within M&S, it is not clear that Mr Oates will stay, even if he is absolved of blame for fomenting the schism.
"I think he will stay until a decision is made, and if he doesn't get the chairmanship or chief executive's job he will decide to go himself," said one observer.
Detective novelist who wrote Death comes to Pemberley passed away peacefully at her home, aged 94
- 1 'Kidnapped boy may have been abused and murdered by VIP paedophile ring,' say police
- 2 Ridley Scott on Exodus, Gods and Kings casting: 'I'm not going to get it financed if my lead actor is Mohammad so-and-so from such-and-such'
- 3 Girl, 7, gets Tesco to remove 'stupid' sign suggesting superheroes are 'for boys'
- 4 This letter from a reader explains why women can’t play football
- 5 'You should come to my house and eat cheeses with me': 4-year-old sends adorable love letter to girl at school
Black Friday 2014: Opening times for Asda, John Lewis, GAME, PC World and Argos
Miss Honduras Maria Jose Alvarado's stylist Luis Alfredo Garcia is found stabbed to death
Dr Lam Hoe Yeoh: Voyeur doctor jailed for eight years after using network of hidden cameras to film patients, colleagues and friends on the toilet
'You should come to my house and eat cheeses with me': 4-year-old sends adorable love letter to girl at school
Scientists predict green energy revolution after incredible new graphene discoveries
Ukip says babies born to immigrants in the UK should be classed as migrants – which would include Nigel Farage’s own children
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
The young are the new poor: Sharp increase in number of under-25s living in poverty, while over-65s are better off than ever
Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by Ohio police
Bollywood actress Veena Malik sentenced to 26 years in jail for blasphemy after appearing in mock TV wedding scene
iJobs Money & Business
£Attractive Package: Citifocus Ltd: Chartered accountant (ACA or CPA), must be...
£6000 - £60000 per annum + Bonus and Benefits: Ampersand Consulting LLP: UI De...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Comission: SThree: SThree, International Recruitme...
Negotiable: h2 Recruit Ltd: A rapidly expanding, global Software/ SaaS Vendor ...