Archie became the youngest FTSE-100 leader when he took over and turned around Asda. After a term as an MP, he rebuilt Energis and acquired interests from equipment hire to retailing. He’s since restored fortunes at the independent broadcaster and has undertaken to do the same for Marks & Spencer. To Archie, the challenge for management is to mix motivation with “the discipline and confidence required to turn on a sixpence.” Buy-in works better than instruction; attitude is as important as controlling costs.
Archie Norman is the former Chairman of ITV, the first person to take on the role not to come from a media background. He is now Chairman of Marks & Spencer, and of Lazard, the financial advisory and asset management firm.
After an early career as a management consultant and then Financial Director at Kingfisher, Archie made his reputation as CEO of Asda. Becoming the youngest FTSE-100 head at the age of 37, he turned around what was then an ailing supermarket chain on the brink of collapse and steered it to a successful acquisition by Walmart.
Archie subsequently entered Parliament, serving two terms as MP for Tunbridge Wells. He spoke on environment and transport issues, became Chief Executive of the Conservative Party and then helped form the Policy Exchange think tank with Francis Maude.
After stepping down Archie served as a senior advisor at Lazard, and he then took over the helm at Energis - doubling its value before selling to Cable & Wireless. He also founded an investment partnership, taking a management-intensive approach to a range of under-performing retail businesses.
Having overseen an impressive turnaround in ITV’s fortunes both on screen and on the balance sheets, Archie believes that the power of a company’s potential lies in its people, rather than its figures, and that if you lift employees the bottom line will follow. The management challenge is to mix motivation with the discipline and confidence needed to turn ‘on a sixpence’; as this comes from buy-in as much as instruction, attitude is as important as costs and sales.
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