The ongoing succession saga at Marks & Spencer took another twist today with the news that the high street retail chain has announced a day of It’s a Knockout style endurance contests to decide the identity of Sir Stuart Rose’s successor.
Although insiders had initially confidently predicted that the matter would be resolved by high-level executive presentations from leading candidates, in a manner dubbed ‘M&S has got talent’ it is thought that Sir Stuart reconsidered his stance after watching old episodes of the wacky sports-based contest on YouTube, and decided to widen the net once more.
Rose’s spell as executive chairman of Marks & Spencer is expected to end next year, leaving the chain on the look-out for a new chairman and chief executive. Although investors were said to favour an external, experienced appointment Rose feels that the It’s a Knockout style will lend itself ideally to finding the perfect candidate.
“We obviously want to find somebody who has a certain basic level of intelligence, but let’s be honest, that could be anybody, and interviewing them is just BORING. No, what we need is something much more lively, that the whole family can enjoy.”
During the search for Sir Stuart’s successor, candidates will be asked to undergo a series of challenges, including carrying buckets of water over greasy poles and rolling large logs to fill up a receptacle, while wearing a variety of outlandish costumes.
Over the course of the competition, which will be refereed by former football referee Keith Hackett, and commentated on by Stuart Hall, interviewees will be permitted to squirt other candidates with a water cannon and throw custard pies to impede their progress. Candidates will receive points according to their progress within the competition, with the overall winner receiving an It’s a Knockout trophy, and a job to replace Sir Stuart.
If successful, the new format could prove the basis for a new means of selection for future captains of industry, with even Gordon Brown showing an interest in the random hiring technique. “Let’s face it,” said the Prime Minister, “after I get turfed out, then the only realistic way of getting anyone to take over the Labour leadership will be some sort of raffle, so this seems like as good a way as any.”