Morrisons chief executive Marc Bolland has become a darling of the City, so could he be the man for Marks & Spencer?
Morrisons surprised the City with an early update this week and even the most dour of analysts were drooling over the grocer’s words. The grocer proved itself the brightest spark in retail when it revealed that it is confident its full-year results will come in ahead of expectations.
Not only is this a massive achievement in a recession, it is also incredible as the grocer is still midway through its turnaround plan and operating in a market in which all its rivals are also on top form.
Morrisons chief executive Marc Bolland has fast become the darling of the City. When he took up his role, it seemed like he had an impossible task. The grocer was haemorrhaging money after buying rival Safeway, and Bolland had to wrestle the reins from founder Sir Ken Morrison.
Bolland’s Dutch charm has done the trick though. He has managed to maintain and highlight all the strengths of the retailer that Sir Ken created, iron out most of its problems, and add a few touches of his own too.
As one analyst put it this week – Morrisons is demonstrating that it has kept the best of its old retail DNA and is benefiting from a strong infusion of the new.
Morrisons has proved that sticking to its guns has worked. Its combination of fresh and value has stood it in good stead. Even those analysts that persistently asked Bolland: “But where will the growth come from next?” have stopped in their tracks this week and accepted that he has done an excellent job.
The question is not now where will Morrisons’ growth come from next, but rather, how long will Bolland stay at the Yorkshire-based grocer? He celebrates his three-year anniversary at the grocer next month and while he remains firmly committed to Morrisons – and genuinely enjoys it – his phone must be ringing off the hook from headhunters.
Bolland has now been thrown in the ring as a contender to take over from Sir Stuart Rose at Marks & Spencer. Bolland certainly has the charm to front Marks & Spencer. He also has the City experience. And judging by his figures, he could well have the skills to bring the magic back to M&S.