ITV appoints former Asda boss Archie Norman as chairman

LONDON - ITV has named Archie Norman, the former Asda chief executive and one-time Tory MP as its non-executive chairman.

He joins in January next year, taking over from executive chairman Michael Grade. At the same time, John Cresswell will become interim chief executive, while the company looks for someone to fill that role.

Norman will earn a salary of £300,000 a year as well as being given a total of 1.2 million shares, to be received in three annual lots of 400,000.

Norman has a reputation for joining organisations at their lowest points and transforming them.

He made his name as the man who, along with Allan Leighton, turned Asda around after joining the struggling retailer in 1991, transforming it in to the second largest supermarket group in the UK before it was acquired by Wal-Mart in 1999.

Norman has also had an eight-year stint as a Conservative MP for Tunbridge Wells, winning the safe seat in 1997 and 2001 before standing down at the last general election in 2005.

Since then, Norman acquired the telecoms firm Energis, working to improve its fortunes over a three-year period before selling it to Cable & Wireless. He is currently running Aurigo Management Partner, a fund to buy distressed and unfashionable businesses. It bought the industrial equipment hire firm HSS in 2007.

A recent trading update from ITV suggest the broadcaster may be seeing the end of the recession with small growth predicted for the fourth quarter, helped in part by the ratings performance of hit show X Factor, which is dominating weekend viewing figures. Uncertainty remains over its longer term fortunes, however, as the media sector battles cyclical and structural challenges.

Norman said: "There are few opportunities that would have tempted me back into the public company arena, but ITV is definitely one of them. It is an irresistible challenge, a great brand, a people business with enormous talent, but facing an imperative for change: the challenge of adapting to compete in a fragmented digital media world."

As part of this morning's announcement, Sir James Crosby, senior independent director at ITV, said he was to stand down from the board as soon as a successor could be appointed.

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