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Sir Stuart Rose survives investor rebellion

As had been expected at today's AGM, Marks & Spencer chief executive and executive chairman Sir Stuart Rose faced a significant investor backlash. In total 38% of investors called on the former saviour of Marks & Spencer to step down as chairman earlier than 2010 while retaining his position as chief executive. There was also a smaller rebellion, which saw 21.5% of investors vote against or abstain, from the vote to elect him back to the board.

While Sir Stuart Rose lives to fight another day in his position as chairman and chief executive of the group there is no doubt that the company itself appears to be on borrowed time. The fact that institutional investors were very prominent in the vote against various motions today has caught the eye of companies around the UK with similar managerial setups. While corporate governance guidelines were brought in some time ago there are still many companies around the UK yet to embrace these wholly and they could soon find themselves in a similar situation to Sir Stuart.

While it may have taken a recession, and the realisation that luxuries are still plentiful in the UK private sector, to open the eyes of private investors and institutional investors alike, there is certainly a motion and a move for change with shareholder power now coming to the fore.

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