Tesco tight-lipped on reports that Archie Norman could become chairman

Embattled retailer Tesco has declined to comment on reports that it has been holding “active talks” with turnaround king Archie Norman about taking over as chairman.

Archie Norman
Archie Norman

Mr Norman, 60, made his name by reviving the fortunes of Leeds-based Asda in the 1990s and is currently the chairman of broadcaster ITV.

Sky News named Mr Norman and John Allan, the former chairman of Dixons Retail, as contenders for the job.

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A spokesman for Tesco told The Yorkshire Post: “We are not saying anything about that.”

Britain’s biggest supermarket is looking for a replacement for Sir Richard Broadbent, chairman since 2011.

Tesco has been by a price war with discounters and an accounting scandal.

Latest industry data showed its first sales rise since January 2014, suggesting that the turnaround under new chief executive Dave Lewis may be bearing fruit.

Mr Lewis has cut prices on fresh produce and branded goods, as well as improving customer service and product availability, in an attempt to win back the customers that have deserted it in droves for cheaper rivals Aldi and Lidl.

Analysts believe that former Tory MP Mr Norman would be an inspired choice as chairman.

He joined Asda as chief executive in 1991 when Asda was a struggling northern supermarket chain.

He transformed its fortunes by boosting staff morale and sales and sold the business to US retail giant Walmart for £6.7bn.

Mr Norman has fond memories of his time in Leeds and recently said if he was starting a new business today he would go to Yorkshire “every day of the week”. He could not be reached for comment.

Sky News said Tesco is keen to decide on its new chairman by the end of the month.