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Stuart took over the reins at Marks & Spencer when the famous retailer was at its lowest ebb. He fought off a high profile takeover bid, reversed the decline in performance and restored the public’s affections. He now invests in online and chairs a fashion chain. In presentations Stuart considers the lessons learned about organisational change, and how to navigate turbulent trading conditions. He also underlines the case for socially responsible business.
Former Chief Executive and Chairman of Marks & Spencer, Lord Rose is recognised as one of the leading lights in British retail. With over four decades experience in the sector he is now Chairman of the internet grocery retailer Ocado, along with a number of other non-executive roles.
Beginning his career as a management trainee at Marks & Spencer, Lord Rose spent seventeen years at the high street icon before taking the helm of the Burton Group before the company demerged. Successful periods as Chief Executive of both Argos and Booker led to his appointment as Chief Executive at Arcadia Group, owners of Top Shop and BHS. Taking on a struggling and heavily indebted company, he turned the business around and presided over its sale, reportedly for £855 million, only two years later to Philip Green.
Lord Rose then returned to Marks & Spencer - this time to the top job and arguably one of the most difficult and scrutinised in UK retail. On arriving, he fought off a high-profile takeover bid. His energetic and charismatic leadership turned around declining performance and restored M&S in the affections of the British public, enabling it to weather the recession, with increasing profits and an enviable reputation.
Along with his noted business acumen, Lord Rose brought another kind of vision to M&S. He reinvigorated its fashion lines with new brands, the stores were redesigned, and the food department became a by-word for quality produce and service. The 'Plan A Initiative' committed the company to working with customers and suppliers to help combat climate change, reduce waste, use sustainable raw materials and trade ethically. Its vision and implementation - from reducing packaging to developing standards for sustainable farming - has set a standard for ethical, sustainable business. Whilst his time as Chair of Ocado has seen a huge growth within the company, and the online grocery sector generally, presenting challenges and opportuinties in an area that combines technology, customer service and logistics and the new frontline of retail competition.
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