M&S chief Stuart Rose calls for Sir Alan Sugar to be a better role model

M&S CEO Sir Stuart Rose has criticized Sir Alan Sugar’s aggressive TV business style, according to today's Times. Rose said it’s crucial for the top dogs in companies to be ‘role models’.

“Just as we mustn’t demonise business we mustn’t stereotype business and suggest the only way to run it is to hire and fire or do down colleagues. It’s about teamwork, it’s about diligence, it’s about being as full a man as you can be,” Rose said.

Sugar is notorious for his short temper and belittling wit at the expense of contestants on The Apprentice. But Rose condemned his out-of-date ‘hire and fire’ approach and said leaders at Sugar’s level should instead be setting the ‘right tone’.

“If people think business is all about how it works on The Apprentice, they are in for a surprise,” said Rose. “If I ran my business in that way I’d probably have my P45 very quickly.”

Sugar responded with what neared an admission of Rose’s argument: “It’s true Stuart has a very different business style to me. He has done a great job in changing the face of M&S and fending off the low-cost competitors. Funnily enough my grandfather used to tell me that I reminded him of Michael Marks, the founder of M&S, who started the business on a stall in Leeds.

“Maybe my style was applicable in those early days.”

Rose today was praised by former M&S chief executive Sir Richard Greenbury (boss from 1988-99), who heavily criticised shareholders who had called for Rose to resign a year early. “I feel this continued attacking is irrelevant to the point of being vindictive,” said Greenbury. “Stuart Rose has done an excellent job after six years of decline under three failed chief executive.”

We’re very much of the opinion Rose has done a fantastic job in recent years with M&S, with various impressive deal initiatives (dine for two for a tenner, for example) and impressive fair trade and environmental aims and successes. It’s pleasing to hear he is so anti bad management practice, and still values the importance of treating employees fairly and making them part of the team. We hope he continues at the head of one of Britain’s most successful retailers – and that Sir Alan Sugar takes note and starts taking it a little easier on any employees he does treat in a similar way to his TV persona.

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