M&S shares surge as ex-Asda boss Archie Norman named next chairman

Archie Norman

Former Asda boss Archie Norman has been named as Marks and Spencer's new non-executive chairman.

M&S announced in a statement this morning that it had appointed Archie Norman as chairman with effect from September 1, to succeed Robert Swannell who will retire from the board on that date.

Norman was instrumental in turnarounds at supermarket Asda and home improvement firm Kingfisher and has served as chairman of broadcaster ITV, investment bank Lazard and craft retailer Hobbycraft.

Earlier this week M&S said it had poached Halfords chief executive Jill McDonald to revive the fortunes of its struggling clothes and homewares division. He was also chairman of television channel ITV.

The appointment comes days after M&S poached the CEO of cycling and auto retailer Halfords (HLFDY) in a bid to reinvigorate its clothing division.

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"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".

He stood down as an MP in 2005.

M&S shares rose as much as 6 percent as investors welcomed the appointment of Norman, whose CV is packed with United Kingdom and worldwide experience, including an extensive track record in the retail industry.

Vindi Banga, the senior independent M&S 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".

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).