M&S chairman 'poised for victory in boardroom battle'

Marks & Spencer chairman Paul Myners is poised to triumph over directors trying to oust him from the troubled retailer, it was reported today.

Marks & Spencer chairman Paul Myners is poised to triumph over directors trying to oust him from the troubled retailer, it was reported today.

Mr Myners is seeking to make his interim chairmanship permanent and the Sunday Telegraph said shareholders, staff and customers had all backed the move.

His appointment would bring to an end a boardroom split which saw Kevin Lomax, the senior non-executive director of M&S and head of its nominations committee, argue that the company should appoint an outsider.

Senior figures that Mr Lomax is believed to have put forward include Lord Terry Burns, the former chairman of Abbey National who oversaw the sale of the bank to Banco Santander last year.

According to the Sunday Times, Mr Lomax has suggested three candidates but could soften his stance if chief executive Stuart Rose does not want to work with them.

It said Mr Lomax would reluctantly agree to Mr Myners staying on as chairman until next year if this situation arises.

Investors are understood to be pressing for the row to stop amid fears that it is damaging the retailer at a time when it is struggling to revive flagging sales.

In a trading update last month, M&S said total like-for-like clothing and home sales declined by 6.7% on a comparable basis in the 13 weeks to April 2, including the impact of Easter and the mid-season sale, while full-year sales in the sector dropped 7%.

M&S is due to update the market on the progress in turning M&S around when the company unveils its full-year results on May 24.

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