Luc Vandevelde successfully persuaded shareholders to approve increased option awards for directors yesterday despite a fraught atmosphere.

Yesterday's AGM at London's Royal Festival Hall was heated with angry shareholders demanding results before the plan to double the value of share options available to certain key executives - to three times annual salary - was voted through.

"Let's wait and see if the harvest comes up first," said one shareholder.

Vandevelde, M&S chairman and CEO, said the package was essential if the retailer was to attract and retain the most talented executives during the critical turnaround period, but he added that management would have to meet tough performance targets before they could claim their options.

Institutional investors had insisted that M&S put the package together, he said.

The motion was passed although 40 per cent of shareholders attending the meeting and 14.9 per cent of proxy votes voted against it.