Media Lifeline: Archie Norman

The new ITV chairman may be hoping to receive favours from old friends if the Tories return to power.

1996: Following a gilded education (Charterhouse School, Cambridge, Harvard Business School), Archie Norman had joined McKinsey - and had then been fast-tracked to the dizzy heights of the UK retail trade, becoming the chief executive of Kingfisher, then the chief executive of Asda. He turned it into one of the UK's most dynamic retailers - but, in 1996, he steps back, becoming the chairman, to concentrate on politics.

May 1997: At the General Election, Norman becomes the Tory MP for Tunbridge Wells and backs William Hague in his successful party leadership bid. He is rewarded with a succession of junior ministerial roles and becomes the deputy chairman of the party.

May 2005: But his political career soon runs out of momentum. He had been promoted to the front bench, becoming the shadow secretary of state for the environment, transport and the regions in 2000. His performance, however, had been less than convincing; and he lost further traction in the party after Hague's resignation of the Tory leadership following the 2001 General Election. Norman stands down as an MP at the 2005 General Election.

July 2007: He had already been preparing for his re-entry into the business world, having become the chairman of Energis in 2002. He'd also set up Aurigo management, a private equity concern on the lookout for underperforming companies to snap up. It fails in a bid for Phones 4u but succeeds in acquiring the tool-hire company HSS for £310 million in July 2007.

November 2009: Now Norman takes on the "transformational challenge" to end all transformational challenges as he accepts the chairmanship of ITV - the previous frontrunners for the job, including Sir Crispin Davis and Sir Michael Bishop, having pulled out. The City applauds and ITV's share price rallies - but Norman insists he would expect no favours (regulatory or otherwise) from a future Conservative government.

Fast forward ...

May 2010: On the other hand, no-one is surprised when, within days of winning power, the former ITV exec David Cameron announces that his government is to repeal CRR measures designed to counter ITV's dominance in the airtime market.

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