Blog: Were you nervous Sir Stuart?

Joe Ayling | 9 July 2008

There was an awful lot on the agenda at Marks and Spencer's AGM this afternoon, not least the controversial re-election of executive chairman Sir Stuart Rose.

The UK's top clothing chain has been dogged by a swathe of media reports leading up to the event - primarily sparked by disappointing Q2 results and a profit warning this time last week.

By 3.45pm GMT the meeting had been running for nearly two hours and a croaky under-pressure Rose seemed to be losing patience with a seemingly endless list of shareholder questions.

But then came the big event, with resolutions to be passed including Rose's own re-election as chairman, and you could cut the tension with a knife.

Speculation beforehand indicated that a third of institutional investors could vote against in the belief that having the CEO and executive chairman titles is against corporate governance.

Proposing Rose's re-election, deputy chairman Sir David Michels addressed shareholders with Sir Stuart's impressive CV, which includes being CEO of two of the UK's other top retailers - Arcadia Group and Argos - and turning M&S itself into a company with GBP1bn profits last year.

But with profit warnings, shares plummeting and takeover talk in the background, there was an uncomfortable feeling of "what if" in the air - or was that just me?

Sir David tried to rationalise the situation with a joke, asking "Are you nervous Stuart?", and soon enough his re-election was indicatively carried through.

After the week just gone, most people would be questioning whether they wanted such an intense annual corporate grilling for the next three years.

But as Sir Stuart joked during today's address, he's quite happy to "take the CEO hat off and put the chairman's hat on" from time to time.

By Joe Ayling, news editor.

UK: Rose defends his appointment as executive chairman


BLOG

Busana Apparel on an expansion drive

Busana Apparel Group, Indonesia's largest woven apparel exporter, is on a drive to expand its domestic capacity, has set up its first factory in Ethiopia, is exploring opportunities in Vietnam, and ey...

BLOG

Act now to keep receiving just-style newsletters

You may have noticed a red alert bar at the top of just-style’s weekly and daily newsletters asking you to “Act now to keep receiving the just-style newsletter.” ...

BLOG

Apparel imports into the US rose in June

Apparel imports into the US rose in June as merchants stocked up for summer and prepared for the back-to-school season, with imports from Vietnam continuing to surge....

BLOG

US retailers under pressure to grow sales as mall traffic slows

Under Armour is to close stores and cut jobs – around 2% of the company's global workforce – as part of new plans to build a stronger and smarter company with faster go-to-market speed and greater dig...

just-style homepage



Forgot your password?