Recruitment specialists have given Vittorio Radice and Roger Holmes a vote of confidence, despite the cloud of their recent departure from M&S.
Former chief executive Holmes left after the retailer failed to meet sales expectations, particularly in womenswear. Radice, director of home, clothing and store development left after the arrival of Stuart Rose as chief executive.
John Stork, partner at executive career strategists Stork & May, said: 'Just because someone doesn't fit a particular context doesn't mean they should be written off. Both are highly talented and just need to find their right context.
'Vittorio is a creative talent and that sort of talent needs to be married with strong operations skills,' he suggested.
Martin Kendall, partner at executive search firm Highland Partners, who has worked closely with Radice in the past said: '(Radice) is instinctive and entrepreneurial. The proof is there that he is more successful in a leadership role where he's responsible for creating the vision and inspiring and engaging a team to deliver it.'
'This was particularly evident in the transformation of Selfridges,' he said.
However, one consultant, who asked not to be named, said Holmes may need to lie low for a while. 'When you are making senior appointments, the perception can be as important as the reality. Against that backdrop it's going to be difficult to secure a PLC role of the same standing,' he said.
'Frankly if I was in his shoes I would take a big break. He's been in a big job and been under a lot of pressure,' adding that he should take at least a year off.