Ill health has forced the resignation of John Dowd from his role as MD of the Bradford-based supermarkets group William Morrison, and the announcement yesterday [Monday] heralded a serious setback for the company's plans for management succession. The highly regarded Dowd, whose ill health was first announced in January, will be absent from the company for several months as he undergoes major surgery. Once it is completed, however, he will be unable to return to his former role. Nevertheless, he will remain an employee of Morrison's, for whom he has worked for 30 years, and stay on the payroll.