Marks & Spencer chairman and chief executive Sir Stuart Rose is facing a shareholder rebellion this week over his elevation to the role of executive chairman. It is expected that one in four shareholders will either abstain or vote against the move at its annual meeting on July 9.
The vote will be shareholders’ first chance to show their frustration, not just at Rose’s position, but also at the company’s poor sales performance disclosed last week.
Rose was facing opposition on the proposal to combine the chairman and chief executive role even before last week’s profits warning. The move contravenes corporate-governance best practice, which recommends the role of chairman and chief executive are kept separate.
Last week, the retailer announced that food sales had dropped by 4.5% in the past three months and overall sales, including clothing, were down by 5.3%. The results led to a 33% drop in its shareprice last week.
It is understood that Rose is now working closely with John Dixon, the new director of food, to turnaround sales before the end of its financial year in three months. Dixon, previously head of its internet business, replaces Steve Esom, who left as the results were announced.