Ex-Citigroup executive Robert Swannell to become chairman of retailer Marks and Spencer

Monday, August 23, 2010

Marks and Spencer names banker as new chairman

LONDON — Robert Swannell, an investment banker who was a key figure in defending British retailer Marks and Spencer Group PLC from a takeover six years ago, will become its chairman next year, the company announced Monday.

Swannell will succeed Sir Stuart Rose, who recently gave up his other title of chief executive of the food and clothing merchant.

“His appointment completes our succession plan and enables us to revert to standard governance practice,” said Rose, who was criticized for holding both key positions at Marks and Spencer.

Rose and Swannell have a long association. Rose called on the banker to help defend Marks and Spencer from billionaire Sir Philip Green’s hostile takeover attempt in 2004.

Swannell, 59, was formerly vice chairman of Citi Europe and co-chairman of Citigroup’s European Investment Bank. He retired from Citigroup in March.

He is currently chairman of HMV Group and a director of The British Land Company PLC and private equity firm 3i Group PLC.

He will join the Marks and Spencer board as a non-executive director on Oct. 4, and move up to chairman on Jan. 4, the company said.

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