Archie Norman

Archie Norman bigraphy, stories - British politician

Archie Norman : biography

01 May 1954 –

Archibald John Norman (born 1 May 1954) is a British businessman and politician. He is at present the only FTSE 100 chairman to have sat in the House of Commons. On 18 November 2009, Norman was announced as the new chairman of ITV plc. He took up his post in January 2010.


The second of five children of two doctors, Norman was educated at Charterhouse School, the University of Minnesota, Emmanuel College, Cambridge, and after a short period at Citigroup a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from Harvard Business School.

Business career

Norman joined McKinsey & Company on graduation, where William Hague was one of his protégés. He then held directorships at Geest and Railtrack, before becoming group finance director at then Britain’s largest retailer, Kingfisher plc at 32. Within five years, he was group chief executive of ASDA and by 42 he was Chairman.

In 1991 he applied for and gained the Chief Executive’s position at Asda – the only applicant for a near bankrupt business. From 1991 until 2000, Norman was Chief Executive and then Chairman of Asda, the large supermarket chain, and with Allan Leighton is credited with turning it around and making it the second largest in the UK, before its sale to Wal-Mart in June 1999.

Political career

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, in the 1997 general election, with a majority of 7,506.

After the heavy defeat in the 1997 election, Norman supported William Hague’s bid for leadership, becoming Chief Executive of the Conservative Party and then served as a shadow minister for the environment in 1999. A year later he was promoted to the Conservative frontbench as Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Transport and the Regions, where he was up against the formidable John Prescott on the Labour front bench. After leaving the Shadow Cabinet in 2001 he founded the think tank, Policy Exchange with Francis Maude.

In 2002 Norman became Chairman of Energis having led a consortium of banks in the purchase and refinance of the UK arm from the administrators of Energis Plc. He stood down as MP at the May 2005 general election.

Return to business

On leaving Parliament, Norman set up Aurigo Management, a private equity firm primarily focussed on the retail/consumer space. In July 2007 Aurigo bought tool hire retailer HSS Hire for £310 million, from 3i. On 18 November 2009, Norman was announced as the new chairman of ITV plc. In November 2007 Norman advised Wesfarmers on the acquisition of Coles Group and has since overseen the turnaround of Coles in Australia.


Norman sits on the Board of the Cystic Fibrosis Trust. 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.

Personal life

Married with one daughter, he has homes in Yorkshire and London. His interests include farming, opera, fishing and tennis.