Arise, Sir Stuart

M&S chief Stuart Rose has sealed a triumphant year with a knighthood in the New Year’s Honours List.

Last Updated: 06 Nov 2012

It’s a deserved accolade for the 58-year-old retailer, who joins a list that includes chat-show host Michael Parkinson and Professor Ian Wilmut, the man who cloned Dolly the sheep. Rose’s success in reviving the ailing M&S has been well-documented but is worth remembering: when he took the helm his arch-rival Sir Philip Green was trying to buy it for £4 a share. Under Rose last year the share price almost hit £7.50.

But his achievement goes beyond mere numbers. Rose has returned the historic chain to the British public’s affections, thanks largely to the ‘Your M&S’ slogan and ‘Plan A’ for sustainability, and has regained the respect of its peers: M&S topped MT’s peer-voted Most Admired Companies poll in December with the highest-ever winning score.

For business, it’s reassuring to see its leaders receiving wider recognition for their success, especially when the public has been bombarded this year with less than flattering images of business – from aggressive reality TV shows to reports of the leadership failings in the wake of the credit crunch. Sir Stuart’s success deflects at least some light away from Alan Sugar’s cocksure cronies and the memories of snaking queues of Northern Rock savers scrambling to recover their savings.

Rose was joined in the list by River Island chief exec Richard Bradbury and fashion retail magnate Maurice Bennett, who both received CBEs; entrepreneurs Romy Fraser of Neal’s Yard Remedies and Karen Millen who won OBEs; and John Studzinski, formerly of HSBC now of Blackstone, who won the CBE for services to the arts and charity. Meanwhile Ian McAllister, chair of Network Rail, was knighted for services to transport. That’s sure to go down well with rail users as over-running engineering works hit the headlines and ticket prices go up again…

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