Page last updated at 06:27 GMT, Friday, 2 May 2008 07:27 UK

M&S boss aims for karaoke harmony

Sir Stuart Rose
Sir Stuart did not see any conflict of interest but has acted to close the row

The chief executive of Marks & Spencer, Sir Stuart Rose, has sold his 100,000 stake in a chain of karaoke bars after controversy over his investment.

The Lucky Voice business was set up by internet entrepreneur Martha Lane Fox, who is a non-executive director of M&S.

Investors had complained that Sir Stuart's stake could compromise Ms Lane Fox's independence.

"I have unwound the investment in Lucky Voice." the M&S boss said. "Perhaps it should be called unlucky voice."

'Heart-racing'

Sir Stuart did not see any conflict of interest, a spokesman for the retailer said.

"But he doesn't want such a small point to distract from the bigger issues of managing the group," he added.

M&S investors had already been upset by Sir Stuart's decision to promote himself to combine the roles of chief executive and chairman - which goes against City recommendations on corporate governance practice.

Sir Stuart has conceded the firm could have "done a better job of explaining" the decision.

Ms Lane Fox made her fortune through founding LastMinute.com.

Her roles at M&S include a seat on the remuneration committee which sets the levels of executive pay - including that of Sir Stuart.

Lucky Voice, which began in London's Soho, describes itself as "the most liberating, heart-racing, life-affirming private karaoke experience on earth".




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