Marks and Spencer has provided details of the planned departure of its executive chairman Sir Stuart Rose, who will leave the company next March.

Rose, who has controversially held the dual role of chairman and chief executive, will step down as CEO on 31 July.

Rose's replacement as CEO, former Morrisons boss Marc Bolland, will join M&S on 1 May.

From August until next March, Rose will hold the position of chairman on a salary of GBP875,000 (US$1.3m).

Headhunters have now been appointed to identify and recruit an independent chairman, M&S revealed.

“The board has set out this process to ensure a smooth transition over the coming months and enable Marc to draw on Stuart’s considerable experience,” Sir David Michels, M&S's deputy chairman, said.

“We are pleased to be moving into the final stage of our commitment to split the roles and appoint an independent chairman by March 2011.”