Marks and Spencer boss Stuart Rose has survived one of the biggest UK shareholder rebellions of recent years. 22% of investors abstained or voted against his election as executive chairman.

Rose had been under fire for combining the roles of chairman and chief executive. He said he had been described as 'the Robert Mugabe of retail' but told the M&S AGM that he took corporate governance 'extremely seriously'.

Rose pledged to continue expanding Britain's biggest clothing retailer, despite a downturn in consumer spending, and said he would fix its upmarket food business, which triggered a profit warning last week, 'in short order'.

Rose was brought in to defend M&S in 2004 from a £9.1 billion bid approach from retail billionaire Philip Green. He revamped stores and introduced new fashions to lure back shoppers and drive a recovery that lifted M&S shares to a record high of 759p in April 2007.

But his strategy has been called into question by  disappointing Christmas sales and last week's profit warning.