Allan Leighton

Name: Allan Leighton
Was: CEO at Asda
Now: CEO at Pandora

Career background: Leighton joined Mars as a management trainee, which was “the making” of him, he says. In 1992, he left to join Archie Norman at Asda. He rose to become CEO from 1996 to 2000, with Norman as chairman.

So he did OK? The Norman/Leighton-led revival at Asda is regarded as one of the great turnarounds in UK corporate history, culminating in the sale of the previously debt-laden and flatlining retailer to Walmart in 1999 for a whopping £6.7bn.

What’s his style? He once rode into an annual Asda managers’ meeting in the mid-1990s on a Harley Davidson, in a move inspired by The Shangri-Las’ 1960s hit ‘Leader of the Pack’.

What happened next? After famously declaring he was “going plural”, he left Asda in 2000 and took on several non-executive roles - at the likes of Selfridges, BSkyB, Charlie Bigham’s, Matalan, Pace,, Royal Mail, Music Magpie, BHS, Peacocks, Leeds United FC and George Weston.

What is he doing now? He’s still fairly plural, but in April, Leighton was named CEO of jewellery firm Pandora. Leighton has been chairman there since 2010 and will take over from current boss Bjorn Gulden next month.

Why would he do that? Since Leighton joined Pandora as chairman, the jeweller has had mixed fortunes. One year after its Danish listing in 2010 and three months into his chairmanship, its share price fell 80% following a move into more expensive jewellery. However, profits were up 60.3% to DKK643m (£73.4m) in the first quarter of 2013, and its share price has hit a two-year high. It took a small tumble last week after Pandora’s majority shareholder said it would offer 10% of the company’s shares to institutional investors.