Archie Norman, the Conservative MP who rescued Asda, is understood not to be interested, while Sir Derek Higgs, the UBS investment banker, said he “wouldn’t rule himself in or out” M&S shares fell 7p to 270p.. Stock markets tumbled across the world yesterday as worries over higher interest rates and oil prices triggered fears the global economy could head back into recession. But it he would stay on “for as long as necessary to establish his successor”. Richard Hymen, at the Verdict retail consultancy, said Mr Rose “goes to the top of the list” of potential candidates. Brian Baldock, M&S’s senior independent director, said: “It is nonsense to suggest that Luc Vandevelde has been ‘forced out’ of Marks & Spencer.”The company said Mr Vandevelde’s decision to leave, which comes two months after he joined the board of the French retail giant Carrefour, had been prompted by “personal commitments” made to Carrefour’s 11 per cent shareholder, the Halley family. It is understood that Mr Vandevelde, who left Carrefour to run M&S in 2000, had promised to look after the Halley family’s interests in the event that anything happened to one of them.
Last December, Paul Louis Halley, who co-founded Promodes, the French retailer Carrefour bought in 1999, died in a plane crash.M&S is anxious to replace Mr Vandevelde ahead of its annual meeting on 14 July. According to the City spreadbetting firm, Cantor Index, the odds on Mr Rose’s appointment shortened throughout the day, ending at 11/8.Shareholders in M&S hailed Mr Vandevelde’s decision to step aside. Robert Talbut, of Isis Asset Management, said: “We think it has been increasingly apparent that [Mr Vandevelde] has been spreading himself a bit too thinly and that the transformation of M&S required more involvement from the chairman.”Although Mr Vandevelde had come under increasing fire for not spending enough time at the company he was hired to turn around, the company yesterday insisted it had not asked him to leave. Stuart Rose, the former boss of Arcadia, yesterday emerged as the frontrunner to become Marks & Spencer’s next chairman as the troubled retailer confirmed that Luc Vandevelde was stepping down.
Mr Rose, who sold Arcadia to Philip Green in 2002, is known to be keen on returning to M&S, where he worked earlier in his career.
Any more people travelling in the same party will have to pay the normal price for a seat.. A second, cut-price seat will cost £219 to the US under the BT broadband offer and £88 to European destinations. Mean Fiddler yesterday said it would work with Mr Desmond to increase “bargaining power with artists and suppliers”.”We are basically competitors, but now are working with each other, rather than fighting against each other,” Mr Power said, adding that there were no current plans for Mr Desmond to take over the company.The company expects music downloads to drive further growth this year. However, the airline seats available, apart from BA, include Air France, KLM, easyJet and BMI.Customers will be able to leave from Heathrow, Gatwick, Manchester and Gatwick with destinations including Paris, Brussels, Nice, Prague, Boston, Washington and Philadelphia.