Swannell plans to juggle HMV and Marks & Spencer roles

FORMER dealmaker Robert Swannell will remain on the board of HMV after taking the chair of Marks & Spencer in January, it is understood.

Swannell, whose appointment as Sir Stuart Rose’s replacement was confirmed yesterday, will divide his time between the structurally challenged music chain and the all-purpose retailer. He will step down from the boards of British Land and 3i.

Swannell’s selection was greeted enthusiastically by institutional investors, who have been increasingly irked by Rose’s autocratic style. But some observers questioned his decision to stay in the chair at HMV.

Rahul Sharma, an analyst at Martin Currie, said: “There will be demands on his time. And obviously he’s seen the business from an investment banking perspective, but that’s a little bit different from having retail experience. However, I’m sure he will bring other positives.”

Swannell’s familiarity with M&S dates to his work as a banker with Citigroup. He helped defend the business against a hostile bid from Arcadia boss Sir Philip Green in 2004. He has been a confidante of Rose since then. Shares in M&S closed 1.2 per cent higher at 336.6p.