By Hugh Pym
BBC business correspondent
Vandevelde is now spending more time with his other companies
There is an intriguing symmetry to this latest chapter in the long and colourful history of Marks and Spencer.
Philip Green's first tilt at the High Street giant came when the company's fortunes were at a low ebb at the end of 1999.
Shortly afterwards Luc Vandevelde took over as chairman and began the revival phase, or so it seemed at the time.
Now, a couple of weeks after Mr Vandevelde announced he was quitting - with the company again on the back foot - Mr Green has entered the fray again.
It is an opportunist move, but that has always been his style. Striking while the company is on the defensive and with uncertainty over the succession is a shrewd ploy.
City institutions thought Luc Vandevelde had pulled off the miracle of rescuing M&S.
Boardroom rows over the succession had left the company floundering in the late 1990s.
Now, though, the Belgian retailer looked like the wizard who could wave a magic wand over the lacklustre clothing and furnishing ranges.
There was some improvement as product lines were simplified and new designs commissioned.
Roger Holmes was recruited as managing director from Kingfisher.
The chairman felt confident enough in his turnaround job to stand back from day to day management and become non-executive chairman, with Mr Holmes taking on the mantle of chief executive.
Trouble in store
But the revolution stalled.
Trading deteriorated in the latter part of 2003, and the Christmas season provided no
good cheer at the company's headquarters.
Clothing sales fell back and the head of that department was forced to quit.
Will Philip Green pull off another retail raid?
Shareholders, meanwhile, were hardly impressed to hear that the chairman was spending less time with the M&S family and more with his private equity interests.
Lucky Luc's luck had run out. Under pressure, he accepted that his diary was overstretched and agreed to move on.
The annual results statement out this week did not provide much encouragement for investors.
Like-for-like sales at M&S stores had dropped.
Roger Holmes promised "jam tomorrow". He announced a new women's wear range, billed as the biggest launch since the "Per Una" brand piloted by the retail guru George Davies.
He had already poached Kate Bostock from Asda to pep up the problematic women's clothing division.
But when "tomorrow" comes, M&S may be under new management. Even if he's ultimately rebuffed, Philip Green's presence will distract the boardroom team at a critical time.