Rose heads EU battle
Former M&S boss Lord Rose is to head the 'Remain' campaign for the UK to stay in the European Union Reuters

Lord Stuart Rose, the former chief executive of Marks and Spencer, is the chairman of the Britain Stronger in Europe campaign and the group have the aim of keeping the UK in the European Union. But who is the man behind the operation? IBTimes UK finds out.

The 66-year-old British businessman is worth £34m ($52m) after holding a string of CEO titles at some of the UK's biggest retailers. Rose joined Marks and Spencer in 1972 as a management trainee, where he remained with the company until 1989. After this, he joined the Burton Group as CEO in 1994, where he was paid £1,130,000.

In 1997, Rose joined Argos as CEO. He then moved to Arcadia Group where he held the position of CEO for two years in 2000. In 2008, he became Marks and Spencer's executive chairman; in July 2010, he resigned from the post but remained as chairman until early 2011, where he was replaced by Robert Swannell.

Rose was knighted in 2008 for his services to the retail industry, and created a life peer in September 2014, taking the title Baron Rose of Monewden.

On 22 January 2013, it was announced that Rose would become an independent non-executive director and chairman designate of Ocado, the internet-only grocery retailer.

Marriage and divorce

Rose's grandparents were white Russians who moved to China after the 1917 revolution. The original family name was Bryantzeff, which Rose's father, and ex-RAF and civil servant, changed. His mother's side is English, Scottish and Greek. His family lived in a caravan in Warwickshire until his father senior gained a job with the Imperial Civil Service in Tanzania.

In 2010, Rose, divorced his wife Jennifer Cook after he got married in his early twenties. "When I got married in my twenties, I had a happy marriage and happy kids but at some point in time I let it go off the rails, I let it go off the rails," he told the Telegraph.

After Rose and Cook separated he moved in with the then fashion writer Kate Reardon, who is now the editor of Tatler; the relationship was always put second to work, which resulted in the pair splitting up in 2009. In an interview with the Telegraph, Rose said one of his biggest regrets was the way his deep focus on work "screwed up his personal life".

Views on the EU referendum

Rose has said the British public should not moan about migrants undercutting British workers and taking on jobs for less money is to lead the battle to keep the country in the EU.

He told Sky News: "The choice in the coming referendum is between remaining stronger, safer and better off inside Europe, or taking a leap into the unknown, risking our prosperity, threatening our safety, and diminishing our influence in the world. I believe the case for Britain to remain in the EU is clear. So I'm delighted to join the in campaign's board as chair [of the Britain Stronger in Europe campaign]."

The "remain" campaign officially launched its bid to stay in the EU on 12 October and Rose has taken up the position of chairman with immediate effect. David Cameron has promised to hold the EU referendum by the end of 2017 – but some have suggested it could happen as early as spring.