Archie Norman

Archie Norman

Marks & Spencer (MKS) has appointed former Asda CEO Archie Norman as its new chairman.

He will succeed Robert Swannell – who is set to retire after seven years on the board – from 1 September.

Norman has a long track record in retail and working with brands, including Kingfisher and Energis, but is best known for his stint turning around the fortunes of Asda in the 1990s before the sale of the supermarket to Walmart.

He has also previously served as chairman of ITV, Lazard London and Hobbycraft. In 2016 he was appointed by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy as its lead non-executive board member.

Shares have leapt 3.5% to 369.9p at M&S this morning as the markets responded to the news.

It is the latest management change at M&S as the high street bellwether attempts to re-energise the business. Last year, the retailer appointed food boss Steve Rowe as group CEO, and earlier this week it announced it had poached Halfords chief executive Jill McDonald to revive the fortunes of the flagging clothing division.

“I am looking forward to taking on the role of the chairmanship of Marks & Spencer as the business under Steve Rowe’s leadership faces into the considerable challenges ahead in a rapidly changing retail landscape,” Norman said.

Swannell added: “I am delighted that Archie, with his deep, relevant experience is to be M&S’s next chairman.

“It has been a real privilege to have served as chairman and to have worked with so many exceptional people who are so passionate about this great business. With the appointment of Steve Rowe in 2016, I am confident that we have an excellent team, well-equipped to grow and strengthen the business. I wish them all the very best for the future.”

Vindi Banga, M&S senior independent director, who led the selection process, said: “Having conducted a very rigorous appointment process, it was clear to us that Archie was the best person to be chairman. Archie is one of the most respected business leaders in the UK with extensive experience as both CEO and chairman, and a proven record in retail and other areas. We are delighted he has accepted.

“I would also like to thank Robert on behalf of M&S for his great contribution and commitment to the company over the last seven years. He will be much missed and we wish him well for the future.”