Further boardroom tension has surfaced at Marks & Spencer over the timing of Sir Stuart Rose’s departure.

Marks & Spencer deputy chairman Sir David Michels has told investors he would like to be chairman of the retailer — a move that could spur Rose to leave before his planned retirement in July 2011, according to the Financial Times.

Sources told the paper than Rose currently has no intention of leaving early and that Michels would not be his preferred successor.

The controversial promotion of Rose to both chief executive and chairman of M&S has caused unrest from leading investors for more than a year, with shareholders raising concerns over corporate governance and a succession plan for M&S.

This week Rose and executive director Steve Sharp waived their share entitlements in the interests of good shareholder relations.

All eyes will be on M&S when it updates on its first quarter trading next week.