Sir David Sieff, a great grandson of Michael Marks, founder of the firm, is severing the last family tie with Marks & Spencer.

Sir David, 62, was yesterday named as one of three non-executive directors stepping down from the firm on July 11, the company's annual general meeting. Michael Marks came to England in the early 1880s and by 1900 he had 36 penny bazaars.

The keys to his success were low profit margins combined with a high turnover and the best quality for the price.

Michael's son, Simon, went to America to see how chain stores were run and and set up super stores to meet market demand.

 The rest is history. Sir David, chairman of the British Retail Consortium, was an executive director of M&S for 25 years. He became a non-executive director in 1997. He is also chairman of the European Round Table, FIBI (UK) Plc and Newbury Racecourse Plc as well as a member the European Policy Centre (Brussels).

By Deborah Bowyer.