Bolland takes the helm as M&S chief

A NEW era was ushered in at Marks & Spencer yesterday as former Morrisons chief Marc Bolland took the hot seat at the retailer.

The Dutch executive faces the pressure of living up to a £15m remuneration package as he takes on the challenges of shaking up the company’s clothing range.

Modernising the stock while retaining the traditional M&S customer base has been a longstanding dilemma for one of the oldest names on the UK high street. He will also be expected to improve the performance of the food operation which has lagged behind Waitrose.

His experience in turning Morrisons around after inheriting a bungled integration of Safeway made him a prime candidate for the M&S position.

Bolland, 50, will have the guiding hand of chairman and former chief executive Sir Stuart Rose to help him through his early months as he draws up his masterplan.

Meanwhile the company also has a substantial pension deficit to keep under control.

Sam Hart, retail analyst at Charles Stanley, said: “The new chief faces a number of challenges including rejuvenating the clothing range.

“He must also decide what to do with the underperforming food operation and whether to have more branded food products on the shelves.”

£15m Marc Bolland's estimated remuneration package

325 the number of Simply Food outlets

5.1% rise in same store sales at M&S in the 13 weeks to March 27

£80m the bonus pot M&S employees are to share

MARC Bolland, the son of a Dutch car parts manufacturer, has held a series of high profile positions in the consumer and retail sectors.

Having enjoyed success as chief operating officer of brewer Heineken he took over the running of supermarket chain Morrison in 2006 – stepping into the shoes of Sir Ken Morrison.

He changed the culture at the group and launched a high profile Christmas advertising campaign featuring footballer Alan Hansen.

Bolland also changed the logo as part of the makeover.

Morrisons became a much stronger competitor to Sainsbury’s and Tesco under his stewardship.

At M&S he will face a series of challenges and will be trying to justify his estimated £15m remuneration package, which includes a £975,000 salary. Trilingual Bolland, 50, is a massive football fan and supports Dutch giants Ajax where he is an adviser.

He was educated in Le Hague and gained an MBA at the University of Groningen. The executive drives a classic Aston Martin and a BMW. He has been living in Harrogate.