Allan Leighton going Danish at top of Pandora

Marion Dakers
FORMER Asda boss Allan Leighton, who left the supermarket to embark on a portfolio career, is returning to the executive fold after more than a decade by taking the top job at struggling jewellery group Pandora.

Leighton, whose various non-exec duties include the chairmanship of Pandora, is becoming chief executive from 1 July, the Danish firm announced yesterday.

Pandora’s current boss Bjorn Gulden has been poached by sportswear firm Puma.

Leighton said in a statement: “[T]he management team and I have worked very closely on delivering on the company strategy and the board believes that continuity in that execution and understanding of the business is key to our continued success.”

After five years turning around Asda, Leighton turned his hand to a range of part-time jobs from 2001 that took in the Royal Mail, retailers BHS and Peacocks, as well as Canadian supermarket Loblaw.

He has written several books on his business experiences, in which he extols the virtues of “going plural”.

Leighton will be tasked with keeping Pandora’s revival on track, after a profit warning in mid-2011 that has since kept its Copenhagen-listed shares at least a quarter below its 2010 float price.

Outgoing boss Gulden has improved sales by more than 50 per cent during his 13 months in charge.

Pandora’s shares fell 3.7 per cent yesterday.