Dixon says he has the opportunity to become a chief executive

Dixon says he has the opportunity to become a chief executive

Marks & Spencer's share price fell this morning as the UK retailer's head of clothing and homewares, John Dixon, announced his decision to step down.

Dixon, executive director of general merchandise, said he wants to pursue career opportunities outside of the company. He will step down from the board with immediate effect and leave the company on a date to be agreed.

"I now have the opportunity to become a chief executive and have therefore resigned from this great company," he said in a statement.

Steve Rowe will take on responsibility for general merchandise and Andy Adcock, currently trading director of food, will step up to be director of food, reporting to chief executive Marc Bolland on an interim basis.

Marks & Spencer's share price fell 1.28% to 539 pence this morning on the news. As the longest serving senior team member, Dixon was regarded as a contender for the chief executive role should Bolland leave.

The retailer has been under pressure of late to improve its performance. In its last quarter, the group reported a 0.4% decline in first quarter like-for-like general merchandise sales.

Shore Capital analyst Darren Shirley commented earlier this month: "[The] ladies' wear department looked conservative‎, elderly and quiet. How many times has the question been asked: will M&S ever do in clothing what it does in food?"

According to The Times, however, it is thought Dixon had become disillusioned after realising he was losing out in a succession battle. It is understood Rowe is a more likely successor.