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Allan Leighton is known as the man who sold ASDA to US retail giant Wal-Mart for £6.7 billion. He forged his career with Mars Confectionery where he spent 17 years. Joining as a salesman in 1974 he worked his way up through the company before leaving in 1991. Following a brief spell as Sales Director at Pedigree Petfoods he joined Asda Stores Ltd in 1992.
Allan’s career with Asda saw him start as Group Marketing Director and become Chief Executive within four years. He was credited with turning around what he once described as a basket case into a highly successful company. When it was sold to US retail giant Wal-Mart for £6.7 billion in 1999 Allan became the President and CEO of Wal-Mart Europe.
In 2000 Allan left Asda to develop a new work ethic, ‘Going Plural’, as he took on non-executive positions in a number of companies including lastminute.com, Dyson Ltd, Cannons Group plc, Bhs, BSkyB Group plc and Selfridges & Co. He joined the Royal Mail as company Chairman in 2002, whilst in post he drove a period of modernisation that transformed Royal Mail from loss making into a profitable business. When he stepped down from the role in 2009 he was the Royal Mail’s longest serving chairman.
Allan has been President of Loblaw Companies Ltd since 2008 and acted as a Consultant to George Weston Ltd (holding company of Loblaw) since 2000. Loblaw is the largest food retailer in Canada, with over 1400 supermarkets and sales of more than C$30 billion. In 2011, Allan stepped aside as President and deputy chairman of Loblaw but will continued as business advisor to George Weston ltd.
Allan is Chairman of Pandora A/S, Chairman of Pace, Chairman of Office, Chairman of MusicMagpie.co.uk and deputy Chairman of an Inspirational Journey. In 2004 he was awarded an Honorary Degree at Cranfield University and in 2010 the University of Lancashire awarded him an Honorary Fellowship in recognition of outstanding achievements.
Allan is a Patron of Breast Cancer Care and all proceeds from his books On Leadership: Practical Wisdom from the People Who Know and Tough Calls go to this charity as part of his pledge to raise £1 million for this fantastic cause.
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