Marks & Spencer boss Sir Stuart Rose has surrendered over £1m worth of shares he was due to receive as part of an incentive plan following pressure from shareholders.

After talks with the Association of British Insurers, the M&S executive chairman decided to forgo the award, worth around one third of his annual share entitlement.

The move was widely seen as a strategy to avoid a showdown at the company’s AGM next month, where shareholders will be able to express disappointment with the company’s performance over the past year.

Marketing director Steven Sharp is also to forgo some of his allocated shares.

“I am committed to ensuring that M&S engages in full and constructive dialogue with our shareholders,” said Rose.

“Following feedback from shareholder representative bodies, Steve Sharp and I have decided to waive our entitlement to 197,484 and 394,967 shares respectively, representing a third of the allocation awarded to us by the remuneration committee. The board is acutely aware of the governance issues we face and the importance of good shareholder relations.”

Deputy chairman Sir David Michels said the board was “disappointed at this unexpected reaction”.