Marks & Spencer yesterday lost the services of one of the City's most respected businessmen as a non-executive director.
Anthony Habgood handed in his resignation after little more than a year at M&S, saying he could no longer juggle the role with his commitments as chairman of leisure giant Whitbread and packaging supplier Bunzl.
M&S appointed Mr Habgood last year while it was fending off a £9.1 billion takeover campaign from Bhs owner Philip Green.
Mr Habgood, aged 58, was one of five part-time nonexecutive directors on the board of the clothing retailer and sat on its nomination, audit and remuneration committees. He received £50,000 pa from M&S.
His resignation comes less than a month after he took over the chairmanship of Whitbread, which is restructuring to sell non-core assets and reshape itself around three sectors of the leisure market where it has leading positions - budget hotels, restaurants and health and fitness clubs.
Mr Habgood was also forced to pick up the reins again as executive chairman of former FTSE 100 firm Bunzl in June after the man appointed as its new chief executive made an 11th-hour decision to reject the top job, citing personal-reasons.
Mr Habgood said: "It is with great regret that I have resigned as a director of Marks & Spencer. As chairman of Whitbread and after unexpectedly having had to resume the executive chairmanship of Bunzl in June, I have found it impossible to fulfil the time commitments necessary to remain on the board."
M&S chairman Paul Myners said: "We fully understand that in these circumstances Tony felt he could not continue as a non-executive director."
At the AGM in July, M&S said it was looking to appoint more non-executive directors.