Archie Norman

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Archie Norman
Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Transport and the Regions
In office
2 February 2000 – 18 September 2001
LeaderWilliam Hague
Preceded byJohn Redwood
Succeeded byTheresa May (Transport, Local Government and the Regions)
Member of Parliament
for Tunbridge Wells
In office
1 May 1997 – 11 April 2005
Preceded byPatrick Mayhew
Succeeded byGreg Clark
Personal details
Born (1954-05-01) 1 May 1954 (age 69)
Dover, England
Political partyConservative
SpouseVanessa Norman (m. 1982)
Children1 daughter
Alma materUniversity of Minnesota, Twin Cities
Emmanuel College, Cambridge
Harvard Business School

Archibald John Norman (born 1 May 1954) is a British businessman and politician. He is the only person to have been chairman of an FTSE 100 company and a Member of the House of Commons (MP) at the same time.[1] From January 2010 to January 2016, Norman was the chairman of ITV plc. He succeeded Robert Swannell as chairman of Marks & Spencer in September 2017.

Early life and education[edit]

Born the second of five sons of two doctors,[1] Archie Norman was educated at Charterhouse, the University of Minnesota, Emmanuel College, Cambridge and (after a short period at Citigroup), at Harvard Business School, where he obtained an MBA.[2]


Business career[edit]

Norman joined McKinsey & Company on graduation, where William Hague (future British Foreign Secretary) was one of his protégés.[3] He then held directorships at Geest and Railtrack, before becoming group finance director at Britain's then largest retailer, Kingfisher plc at 32.

From 1991 until 1999, Norman was Chief Executive and then Chairman of Asda, the large supermarket chain, and with Allan Leighton, he is credited with turning it around, and making it the second largest in the United Kingdom, before its sale to Wal-Mart in July 1999.[4]

In November 1999, he stepped down from the chain.[5] In the early nineties, Norman was also chairman of The Children's Trust, and in 1998, he was succeeded by Sir Brian Hill.[6]

Political career[edit]

During the 1980s, Norman stood unsuccessfully as a Conservative candidate in council elections in Southwark, London.[7] In 1996, on the advice of Francis Maude, Norman decided to apply for the Conservative safe seat of Tunbridge Wells, soon to be vacated by Sir Patrick Mayhew.

Norman was elected as Conservative Member of Parliament for Tunbridge Wells in England, at the 1997 General Election, with a majority of 7,506. In December 1996, Labour warned that people voting for Norman would be short-changed, as he believed that being an MP was not a full-time job.[8]

After the heavy Conservative defeat at the 1997 election, Norman supported William Hague's bid for leadership, becoming Chief Executive of the Conservative Party from July 1998 to June 1999.[9] As Chief Executive he rationalised staffing at Conservative Central Office in Smith Square, sacking a third of the staff.[10] He also proposed in a "Blueprint for change" plan that the election of party leader should be decided by party members, rather than MPs, and there should be a target of doubling membership.[11]

He served as a shadow minister for the environment in 1999. From February 2000 to September 2001 he was Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Transport and the Regions, where he was up against John Prescott on the Labour front bench.[9]

In September 2001, after leaving the Shadow Cabinet, he founded the think tank Policy Exchange with Francis Maude. In July 2002, Norman became Chairman of Energis, having led a consortium of banks in the purchase and refinancing of the United Kingdom arm of Energis from the administrators. In October 2004, he announced his intention to step down as MP at the next general election, as he wished to pursue other interests.[12]

In December 2004, Greg Clark was selected as the candidate to succeed him by the Conservative Party.[13] In May 2005, Norman officially stood down as MP, prior to the general election.

In October 2016, Norman was appointed by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy as its Lead Non Executive Board Member, with Clark as Secretary of State.[14]

Return to business[edit]

On leaving Parliament, Norman set up Aurigo Management, a private equity firm primarily focussed on retail/consumer industries. In February 2004, he showed interest in becoming the chairman of Sainsbury's.[15] In June 2005, he denied plans to take over the helm of Morrisons.[16] In July 2007, Aurigo bought tool hire retailer HSS Hire for £310 million, from 3i.[17] In November 2007, Norman advised Wesfarmers on the acquisition of Coles Group, and has since overseen the turnaround of Coles in Australia.

On 18 November 2009, Norman was named as the new chairman of ITV plc. In January 2016, it was announced he was to step down as chairman after six years.[18] In July 2013, Lazard appointed him as its London chairman, as the firm worked on the privatisation of the Royal Mail.[19] In December 2013, he was appointed chairman of Hobbycraft, replacing Simon Burke.[20]

On 5 May 2017, it was announced Norman would succeed Robert Swannell as chairman of Marks & Spencer in September 2017.[21]


He is on the Board of the NIESR, has an Honorary Degree from Leeds Metropolitan University, was a Director of the Judge Institute, has been elected to the Marketing Society Hall of Fame, and been voted Retailer of the Year and Yorkshire Businessman of the Year. In December 2010, he was granted the Institute of Turnaround Professional Lifetime Achievement Award.[22] In June 2015, he teamed up with The X Factor host Simon Cowell in launching a new show, entitled The F Factor.[23]

Personal life[edit]

Married with one daughter, he has homes in Yorkshire, London and the small island of Lismore on the west coast of Scotland. His interests include farming, opera, fishing and tennis.[24] He bought a pied-à-terre in Tunbridge Wells while MP.[citation needed]

In July 2004, The Independent reported he owned a REVA G-Wiz to commute around London, and outside London, he drove a Volkswagen Golf.[25]


  1. ^ a b "Exclusive MT interview: Archie Norman". Management Today. 3 September 2007. Archived from the original on 9 October 2007. Retrieved 6 April 2008.
  2. ^ "If anyone understands the perils of modernising the Conservative Party it is Archie Norman". BBC News. 14 July 2006. Retrieved 6 April 2008.
  3. ^ Roth, Andrew (20 March 2001). "Archie Norman". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 6 April 2008.
  4. ^ Cowe, Roger (15 June 1999). "Wal-Mart swallows Asda". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 November 2018.
  5. ^ "Norman quits Asda". The Guardian. 10 November 1999. Retrieved 28 July 2016.
  6. ^ Andrew Ross, Emmanuel College Magazine (2012-2013), pp 83-86
  7. ^ Thomson, Richard (11 July 1992). "Profile: Supermarket calculator: Archie Norman must soon deliver results at Asda as well as good PR, writes Richard Thomson". independent. Retrieved 21 June 2017.
  8. ^ Bevins, Anthony (27 December 1996). "Full-time attack on Asda chief". independent. Retrieved 25 December 2016.
  9. ^ a b "Mr Archie Norman". UK Parliament. Retrieved 29 November 2021.
  10. ^ "Profile: Archie Norman: Wunderkind the Tories loved to hate". The Independent. 7 November 1999. Retrieved 29 November 2021.
  11. ^ Roth, Andrew (20 March 2001). "Archie Norman". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 November 2021.
  12. ^ "Archie Norman to quit at next election". 27 October 2004. Retrieved 26 December 2016.
  13. ^ "Tories pick general election candidate". 3 December 2004. Retrieved 26 December 2016.
  14. ^ "Business Secretary appoints Archie Norman as Lead Non-Executive Board Member". 3 October 2016.
  15. ^ Lyons, Teena (29 February 2004). "Norman eyes top job at Sainsbury". standard. Retrieved 9 February 2017.
  16. ^ "Norman denies link with Morrisons". 26 June 2005. Retrieved 26 December 2016.
  17. ^ Verjee, Neelam (13 June 2007). "Archie Norman agrees to buy HSS for £310 million". The Times. London. Retrieved 6 April 2008.
  18. ^ Sweney, Mark (18 January 2016). "Archie Norman to step down as ITV chairman". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 October 2016.
  19. ^ Partington, Richard (9 July 2013). "Lazard strengthens ties with ex-Conservative minister". Retrieved 26 December 2016.
  20. ^ Holland, Tiffany (4 December 2013). "Hobbycraft hires retail veteran Archie Norman as chairman". Retrieved 9 February 2017.
  21. ^ Zoe Wood (5 May 2017). "M&S appoints Archie Norman as new chairman | Business". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 May 2017.
  22. ^ "Archie Norman to be ITV chairman". BBC News. 18 November 2009. Retrieved 25 April 2010.
  23. ^ Kersey, Molly (18 June 2015). "Former Tunbridge Wells MP Archie Norman teams up with Simon Cowell in 'technology version of X Factor'". Archived from the original on 26 December 2016. Retrieved 26 December 2016.
  24. ^ Mathiason, Nick (11 June 2006). "Norman to the rescue - again". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 6 April 2008.
  25. ^ Biggs, Henry (26 July 2004). "A new charge that could transform city motoring". independent. Retrieved 16 March 2017.
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by Member of Parliament
for Tunbridge Wells

Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by Shadow Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions
Succeeded byas Shadow Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions