UK food and clothing retailer Marks & Spencer has announced that chairman Luc Vandevelde has indicated that he wants to leave the company’s board of directors.

“Luc’s decision has been prompted by personal commitments previously made to the Halley family and which arise from the untimely death of Paul Louis Halley late last year,” the company said.

Halley, a French billionaire and major shareholder in French retail giant Carrefour, was killed in a plane crash in England last December. Vandevelde, a former executive of Carrefour, joined the French company’s board after Halley’s death to represent the Halley family on the board.

Marks & Spencer said a search is under way for a new chairman and Vandevelde will remain in the position for as long as necessary to establish his successor.