Sir Stuart Rose will step down as chairman of Marks & Spencer today as he hands over the reins to former investment banker Robert Swannell.

Rose joined the retailer as chief executive in 2004 to fend off a takeover attempt by Arcadia tycoon Sir Philip Green. He controversially became chairman and chief executive last year.

He has won a number of prestigious awards for his business achievements, including the 2006 Business Leader of the Year from the World Leadership Forum. In 2008 he was knighted.

Rose, who passed over the chief executive baton to former Morrisons boss Marc Bolland in May 2010, will take on an advisory role at private equity firm Bridgepoint after his departure.

HMV chairman Swannell, who was a lead adviser to M&S in the defence against Green’s takeover attempt in 2004, replaces Rose as chairman.