ITV chairman Archie Norman yesterday said he had scoured the world for a new chief executive before finally settling on Adam Crozier.
But the man he eventually chose came via a more direct route, through his friendship with long-time friend and former Asda colleague Allan Leighton.
Norman – chief executive and then chairman of Asda – appears to have used the connections he made during his decade at the supermarket.
Leighton appointed Crozier to the Royal Mail when he was its chairman. In turn Leighton was recruited by Norman to Asda in 1992, initially as marketing director and then as chief executive.
Leighton’s hand was also at work in the surprise appointment of Dalton Philips – a virtual unknown – as chief executive of Wm Morrison earlier this week. Philips worked alongside Leighton as chief operating officer of Loblaw Group, Canada’s biggest supermarket.
In fact, Leighton’s list of protégés reads like a who’s-who of British business, and includes current Asda boss Andy Bond and J Sainsbury chief executive Justin King.