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M&S searches for next Rose

Marks and Spencer yesterday hit back at claims that shareholders were wary of an internal candidate being appointed to succeed Sir Stuart Rose.<br /><br />Earlier this month Rose&rsquo;s key ally and food boss of the retail chain, John Dixon, was elevated to the main board &ndash; suggesting to observers that he will be in the running for the chief executive post.<br /><br />Dixon is now seen as a front-runner, along with finance director Ian Dyson, for the top job. Womenswear chief Kate Bostock is also an internal candidate, after Next boss Simon Wolfson and Justin King, chief executive of J Sainsbury&rsquo;s, have both distanced themselves from the post.<br /><br />But it is believed shareholders have raised concerns that none of the internal names have sufficient experience of a top role to take the reigns of Britain&rsquo;s high street bellwether. <br /><br />An M&amp;S spokesman said: &ldquo;Shareholders have known from the beginning that as well as carrying out an extensive wide search &ndash; it was also the group&rsquo;s intention to look at potential internal successors.&rdquo;<br /><br />Rose&rsquo;s executive chairman role has angered shareholders for its deliberate flouting of good corporate governance practice. Earlier in the year he promised to relinquish the chief executive reins next year, while staying for another year as chairman. <br /><br />A source close to the group told City A.M.: &ldquo;In an ideal world&hellip; M&amp;S would grow its own successor. There are some characteristics for a candidate which are unique to M&amp;S.&rdquo;