Why `Mr Grumpy' feels the pressure
Wednesday 04 November 1998
During his presentation of half-yearly figures for the company, Sir Richard joked that he had taken some Valium to keep himself calm. Even so, there was plenty of colourful language to accentuate the gloom of falling profits and consumer recession. Observers could only imagine what he might have said if he had allowed himself to get excited.
On past form he would have hit back hard at any detractors of either himself or his beloved M&S - the company he has served faithfully from joining as a 16-year-old management trainee and which, now 62, he has run for the past decade. Speculation in the City, however, has recently centred on whether or not he is the right man to continue at the helm. He maintains that he will remain in place until retirement at 65 in 2001.
One theory is that a plan for him to go sooner was shelved when it became clear that the company was sailing into stormy waters. On this view he has been left there to tough it out through the bad times, rather than pitching a new boy into the swell, but be ready to step aside when the prospects brighten.
Only last month, however, the company announced a freeze on all new projects, just a year after Sir Richard unveiled plans for pounds 2.2bn worth of new investment.
While no-one is suggesting that he should have foreseen the global downturn so far in advance - precious few other people did - this has served to knock the image of invincibility that Sir Richard was so keen to promote.
But for a man who it is said, "eats, sleeps and drinks M&S" it is certain that he will not go quietly.
- 1 Game of Thrones author George RR Martin says 'f*** you' to fans who fear he will die before finishing Westeros saga
- 2 Question Time's 'passionate highlander' is the William Wallace of the Better Together campaign
- 3 PornHub begs users to stop uploading video clips of Brazil getting beaten 7-1
- 4 Tony Abbott embarrasses Australia by praising Japanese WWII military, ‘getting on the sake’ and posing for ‘crotch-shot’ photo opportunity
- 5 The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week
Instagram of US airport security chiefs: Lipstick knives and IED training kits among items seized
Game of Thrones author George RR Martin says 'f*** you' to fans who fear he will die before finishing Westeros saga
Question Time's 'passionate highlander' is the William Wallace of the Better Together campaign
Israel-Gaza crisis: Eight killed in Gaza Strip cafe while watching World Cup semi-final
Supermoon 2014: When and why will the moon look bigger and brighter this summer?
Sustained immigration has not harmed Britons' employment, say government advisers
Australia facing international condemnation after turning around Sri Lankans at sea
7/7 memorial defaced on anniversary of 2005 attacks with ‘Blair lied thousands died’ graffiti
Even when it brutalises one of its own teenage citizens, America is helpless against Israel
Socialist Worker called to apologise over ‘vile’ article saying Eton schoolboy Horatio Chapple's death is ‘reason to save the polar bears’
There’s a nasty smell in the political air – and it’s coming from the Tories
competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client, a FTSE 100 organisation are u...
£300 - £350 per day + competitive: Orgtel: My client, a leading bank, is curre...
£33000 per annum + pension, 25 days holiday: Ashdown Group: A highly successfu...
£28000 - £32000 per annum + pension, 25 days holiday: Ashdown Group: A highly ...