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Archibald John Norman

Member of Parliament
for Tunbridge Wells
In office
1 May 1997 – 5 May 2005
Preceded by Patrick Mayhew
Succeeded by Greg Clark

Born 1 May 1954 (1954-05-01) (age 55)
Nationality British
Spouse(s) Married
Children 1 daughter
Alma mater University of Minnesota, Emmanuel College, Cambridge
Known for ITV
Kingfisher plc

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.[1] On November 18, 2009, Norman was announced as being the new chairman of ITV. He took up his post in January 2010.



The second of five children of two doctors,[1] 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.[2]


Business career

Norman joined McKinsey & Company on graduation, where William Hague was one of his protégés.[3] 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 and by 42 he was chairman, earning £3 million a year.[3]

Tired of waiting for the retirement of Sir Geoffrey Mulcahy, he applied for and gained the Chief Executive's position at Asda - the only applicant for a near bankrupt business.[4] From 1991 until 2000, Norman was Chief Executive and then Chairman of Asda, the large supermarket chain, and with cohort 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

Having helped form the think tank Policy Exchange, 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, but with a halved majority of 7,506.

After the heavy defeat in the 1997 election, Norman supported William Hague's bid for leadership, becoming Party Chairman and then serving as a shadow minister for the environment from 1999 until 2001. Norman's promotion to the Conservative frontbench as Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Transport and the Regions secretary in 2000 was not a success, seen as stumbling and inarticulate, though undoubtedly bright: "Just because Asda checkout girls smile at him, he thinks he's got the common touch," joked Lord Parkinson.[3]

Although he survived the reshuffle after the failure of Hague, his long term intentions were clear when in 2002 he joined Energis as Chairman 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

Norman now runs Aurigo Management, a private equity firm primarily focussed on the retail/consumer space. Key executives include Paul Sagoo, his colleague from Energis. In July 2007, after failed bids for fitness chain Esporta and mobile phone retailer Phones 4U, Aurigo bought tool hire retailer HSS Hire for £310million, from 3i.[5] On November 18, 2009, Norman was announced as being the new chairman of ITV. [6]

Personal life

Married with one daughter, he has homes in Yorkshire, London and Switzerland - infamously buying only a pied-à-terre in Tunbridge Wells while MP. His interests include farming, opera, music, fishing, skiing and tennis.[4]


Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Patrick Mayhew
Member of Parliament for Tunbridge Wells
Succeeded by
Greg Clark


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