Wesfarmers Enlists Archie Norman for U.K. Home-Improvement Push

  • Former Asda boss named to three-man Homebase advisory board
  • Briton built reputation as a turnaround specialist in 1990s

Wesfarmers Ltd. appointed former Asda supermarket boss Archie Norman as an adviser to Homebase to assist with its advance on the U.K. home-improvement market.

The appointment, announced at an investor day Wednesday, follows this year’s acquisition of the British do-it-yourself chain by Wesfarmers’ market-leading Australian business, Bunnings.

Norman, currently chairman of Lazard Ltd.’s London business, will be joined on Homebase’s advisory board by Lazard senior adviser Michael Mire and Matt Tyson, who held a number of management positions in more than two decades at rival Kingfisher Plc.

The 62-year-old retailer turned politician brings a wealth of experience to the role. He forged his reputation at Asda in the 1990s, transforming the ailing chain into the U.K.’s second-largest grocer before its acquisition by Wal-Mart Stores Inc. for 6.7 billion pounds ($9.8 billion). Prior to leading Asda, he was Kingfisher’s finance director.

More recently, Norman served as a Conservative member of parliament and as chairman of British broadcaster ITV Plc. He has acted as an adviser to Wesfarmers since 2009.

Wesfarmers plans to introduce pilots of its Bunnings stores, known in Australia for their low prices, in the U.K. later this year. The company acquired Homebase for 340 million pounds in February.

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