Against speculation, Paul Myners is to remain as chairman of Marks & Spencer for the time being. Myners took over the role on an interim basis after the departure of Luc Vandevelde in May, and in partnership with new chief executive Stuart Rose saw off the takeover approach from Bhs and Arcadia owner Philip Green.

His reputation and contacts in the City, combined with Rose's retail experience, has been seen as a 'dream team' in some quarters as M&S works to reverse its sales decline. M&S said Myners may stay in the role until the annual meeting in July 2005, with the process of appointing a permanent chairman continuing in the meantime.

Kevin Lomax, the senior independent M&S director, said: "Marks & Spencer is fortunate that Paul has agreed to remain as chairman. The board believes Paul has done an extremely good job during a difficult period and that the company now needs a period of stability in order to focus on the day to day running of the business.

"We are grateful that Paul has freed up more time in order to be able to continue for longer than he had originally planned.' Myners will be stepping down from the Board of mmO2 and as a trustee of the Charities Aid Foundation in order to give sufficient time to his role at M&S.


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