Sir Stuart Rose is Chairman of the internet grocery retailer Ocado and the former Chief Executive and Chairman of Marks & Spencer and as such he is recognised as one of the leading lights in British Retail.
Stuart began his career as a management trainee at Marks & Spencer in 1971, where he spent seventeen years before taking the helm at the Burton Group before the company de-merged. 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.
Stuart 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 recent recession, with profits again on the rise.
Along with his noted business acumen, Sir Stuart 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 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.
He was Chairman of The British Fashion Council from 2004 – 2008, Chairman of Business in the Community from 2008 – 2010 and a Non-Executive Director of Land Securities from 2003-2013. He is currently Chairman of Ocado, Fat Face, Oasis Healthcare Group and a Non-Executive Director of Woolworths (South Africa). He is also Chairman of The Healing Foundation, a medical charity.
Stuart was knighted in 2008 for services to the retail industry and corporate social responsibility and made a life peer in September 2014.
He is a fantastic retail keynote speaker on issues such as change management, leadership, corporate social responsibility and customer service.
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