Luc Vandevelde has stepped down as chairman of high street giant Marks & Spencer (M&S).

The 52-year-old Belgian, once credited with turning around the clothing and food retailer, cited "personal commitments" for the move.

However, M&S has denied criticism that it put pressure on the increasingly busy Vandevelde to quit.

"It is nonsense to suggest that Luc Vandevelde has been 'forced out of M&S," senior independent non-executive director Brian Baldock said.

"We have all reluctantly agreed with Luc that he will need to stand down from the board once his successor has been established."

Vandevelde also sits on the board of French retailer Carrefour, is a non-executive director at mobile phone group Vodafone and serves as manager of buyout firm Change Capital Partners.