Marks & Spencer chief Sir Stuart Rose has put an end to speculation about his future by agreeing to stay with the retail giant until July 2011 as part of a raft of management changes announced today (10 March).

The executive overhaul will see Sir Stuart move up from his current role as chief executive to executive chairman on 1 June, for a three-year tenure before he retires.

The fashion and food retailer said Lord Burns, its current non-executive chairman, will stand down in June after less than two years in the job.

The boardroom reshuffle will also see director of retail Guy Farrant leave after 30 years at the firm.

In other changes, Ian Dyson will become group finance and operations director, taking on responsibility for retail and HR, alongside his current responsibilities of finance, IT, logistics, property and store development. 

Kate Bostock and Steven Esom are appointed to the board.

Bostock will become executive director of clothing, assuming responsibility for all clothing - women's wear, men's wear, lingerie and children's wear - excluding Per Una.  Steven Esom will continue to be responsible for food.

Steve Sharp will continue as executive director, marketing, with responsibility for marketing, M&S Money and store design.

The announcement ends uncertainty about Sir Stuart's plans. When he joined Marks & Spencer in 2004 he indicated he would stay with the firm for five years until 2009.

M&S also said the changes will "ensure continuity of leadership, strengthen the board and streamline the organisation to maximise its growth potential."

Lord Burns said: "Placing Stuart in this new role creates the right leadership structure for the company.  

"Stuart has the unique skills to continue the challenge of making M&S a world class retailer, and to develop the future leaders of the business."

Sir Stuart added: "In taking on the role of executive chairman, my task will be to guide the business through the next stage of growth.

The retailer has made substantial progress under his direction, although growth has slowed in the last few months.

In January, M&S posted its worst quarterly results in more than two years and warned that tough trading conditions are likely to persist in 2008.

Like-for-like sales in the 13 weeks to 29 December fell 2.2%, with same-store sales in general merchandise, which includes clothing and footwear, dropping 3.2%.

Among the other management changes announced today, Steve Rowe, currently director of home, becomes director of retail; John Dixon assumes responsibility for home as well as M&S Direct; and Darrell Stein, director of IT, also becomes responsible for logistics.

Richard Gillies, currently director of store design, development and procurement, is appointed to the new role of director of Plan A. His current responsibilities will be split between Clem Constantine, who becomes director of property and store development, and Nayna McIntosh, who becomes director of store marketing and design.