Ian Dyson, the Marks & Spencer finance director who was passed over as successor to chief executive Sir Stuart Rose, has revealed that he is leaving the retailer.

The news came just one day after Marc Bolland took over as boss of the bellwether business.

Dyson, who will become chief executive of Punch Taverns, was one of the M&S top brass who took part in last October’s notorious ‘beauty parade’ of internal candidates before a City audience.

The departure of the well-regarded Dyson did not surprise some analysts. Credit Suisse analyst Tony Shiret, a critic of Rose, said: “It was to be expected. One of the issues about having this high-profile internal competition is that you set people against each other.”

Despite the timing of Dyson’s departure, one analyst believed that it would not present Bolland with too much of a headache. He said: “M&S has a not insubstantial finance department. Bolland has carte blanche to look for a successor internally and in the market.”

Among those suggested as potential replacements for Dyson were Richard Pennycook, Bolland’s finance supremo at Morrisons. Collins Stewart analyst Greg Lawless said former Cadbury finance director Andrew Bonfield might also be in the frame. Dyson’s departure date has not been disclosed.

Rose, who is now M&S chairman, said: “We understand Ian’s decision and recognise the opportunity ahead of him.

“His leadership of the team that carried forward Project 2020, our investment in infrastructure, will stand the business in good stead in years to come.” 

Retail Week’s Big Story feature on M&S went to press before it emerged that Dyson was to leave.