Stuart Rose may leave M&S “a bit earlier” than expected

Stuart Rose, executive chairman of retailer Marks & Spencer has claimed he is likely to leave the company before July 2011, although a departure this year is unlikely.

Rose will be succeeded as chief executive on May 1 by Marc Bolland, former CEO of Morrisons, but will remain as a part-time non-executive chairman.

The company has said his latest possible departure date from this role will be after the annual shareholders’ meeting in July 2011.

However, speaking at a conference in London today, Rose said he would probably go “a bit earlier” adding “I’ve done this job now longer than the Second World War lasted. I am going to go at the appropriate time.”

Rose added the retailer’s board had not yet started the formal search for a new chairman, and would not say if he would take a pay cut when he moves to the part-time chairman role.

He predicted that Bolland would take M&S into new product areas and services, which could include telecoms.

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