M&S Names Archie Norman Chairman To Bolster Turnaround Efforts
Marks & Spencer Group Plc named former Asda supermarket boss Archie Norman as its new chairman, as the retailer aims to chart a course back to growth.
Norman will succeed the retiring Robert Swannell as non-executive chairman Sept. 1. The appointment follows this week’s surprise announcement that Halfords Group Plc CEO Jill McDonald will take over as head of M&S’s struggling clothing business.
“Archie is one of the most respected business leaders in the U.K., with extensive experience as both CEO and chair, and a proven record in retail,” Vindi Banga, M&S’s senior independent director, said in a statement on Friday.
Chief Executive Officer Steve Rowe will look to utilize Norman’s turnaround expertise as he seeks to revive the retailer’s ailing clothing business, which is losing market share to nimbler online rivals. As a result of waning demand, Rowe announced the closure of all of its stores in 10 international territories and 30 outlets domestically in November.
“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 in the statement.
The 62-year-old retailer-turned-politician forged his reputation at Asda in the 1990s, transforming the ailing chain into the U.K.’s second-largest grocer before its acquisition by Wal-Mart Stores Inc. for 6.7 billion pounds ($8.7 billion). Prior to leading Asda, he was Kingfisher’s finance director.
More recently, Norman served as a Conservative member of Parliament and as chairman of British broadcaster ITV Plc. He is currently acting as an adviser to Wesfarmers Ltd. as the Australian conglomerate enters the British home-improvement market.