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M&S appoints retail veteran Archie Norman as chairman

Lauretta Roberts
05 May 2017

Marks & Spencer has announced Archie Norman as its new chairman, replacing Robert Swannell who will stand down on 1 September after seven years in the role.

Norman is a high profile figure in the world of retail and is known as a turnaround expert; he is credited with having transformed businesses such as Asda and Kingfisher. He has also served as chairman of ITV, Lazard London and Hobbycraft. In 2016 he was appointed by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy as its Lead Non-Executive Board Member.

Swannell, who announced his departure in just before Christmas, said he was "delighted" Norman who has "deep, relevant experience" has taken the the role.

"It has been a real privilege to have served as Chairman and to have worked with so many exceptional people who are so passionate about this great business. With the appointment of [M&S CEO] Steve Rowe in 2016, I am confident that we have an excellent team, well-equipped to grow and strengthen the business. I wish them all the very best for the future," he said.

Marks & Spencer

Robert Swannell

Norman said he was "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."

His appointment comes just two days after it was revealed that Halfords CEO Jill McDonald would be joining the business this autumn as managing director of its Clothing, Home & Beauty operations. A turnaround in the fortunes of the Clothing arm will be a crucial challenge for both McDonald and Norman.

The search for Swannell's replacement was carried out by senior independent director Vindi Banga. "Having conducted a very rigorous appointment process, it was clear to us that Archie was the best person to be Chairman. Archie is one of the most respected business leaders in the UK with extensive experience as both CEO and Chair, and a proven record in retail and other areas. We are delighted he has accepted," he said.

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