Bolland's exit creates a gap

Marc Bolland&rsquo;s defection from WM Morrison to Marks &amp; Spencer may have signalled the end of one succession saga &ndash; but has promptly sparked another, as the City clamours to predict who will fill the Dutchman&rsquo;s shoes.<br /><br />Bolland is widely credited with transforming Morrison&rsquo;s after its problematic acquisition of&nbsp; Safeway in 2004. When news broke of Bolland&rsquo;s departure, Morrison&rsquo;s stock bombed by five per cent, wiping &pound;384m off the value of the retailer.<br /><br />Bolland is expected to arrive at Marks &amp; Spencer early in May, but it is believed terms in his contract will be put in place to prevent him from poaching former colleagues until 2011. He is also set to pocket a &pound;5m golden hello to compensate for the loss of his Morrisons share options.<br /><br />Waitrose boss Mark Price, known through his blog as &ldquo;the chubby grocer&rdquo;, has been tipped as an early candidate to take the top role. <br /><br />Hargreaves Lansdown analyst Keith Bowman said: &ldquo;It&rsquo;s a slightly odd choice as they appear to be at different ends of the supermarket spectrum. But Price has been working hard and has launched the cheaper Essentials range, which is proving to be stiff competition to M&amp;S.&rdquo;<br /><br />Marks &amp; Spencer&rsquo;s food boss John Dixon &ndash; who was overlooked in the race to replace Sir StuartRose &ndash; ex-Asda boss Paul Foley and WMMorrison&rsquo;s finance director Richard Pennycook have all been thrown in the ring as possible candidates. <br /><br />But Ken Morrison, a member of the original family and large shareholder, has a huge sway over the selection process and has seemed to dismiss&nbsp; Pennycook from the race, saying: &ldquo;He&rsquo;s not a retailer is he?&rdquo;