January 29, 2010 2:00 am

The hand of Allan Leighton

Never mind that Adam Crozier was the man who hired Sven Göran Eriksson as England manager or the images last year of piles of undelivered letters and parcels at Royal Mail.

It is the new ITV chief's status in the circle of ITV chairman Archie Norman and his old colleague and former Royal Mail chairman Allan Leighton that had the City talking.

This was in spite of Mr Norman being at pains to stress that Mr Crozier was "first choice" after the net had been cast far and wide in an international search.

Mr Norman wasn't shy yesterday, however, about his ability to recruit "very strong leaders" including Mr Leighton , who he hired to Asda from Mars. Mr Crozier also did a stint at Mars as a trainee.

Mr Norman also listed Cable and Wireless boss John Pluthero , who he hired at Energis, as well as the other Asda alumni, Sainsbury's Justin King and Andy Bond , now Asda chief executive. He added Alliance Boots executive Andy Hornby to the list, without mentioning his dismal HBOS stint.

Mr Crozier would "be another one in that league", the ITV chairman said.

When it came to raising 15 separate referees for Mr Crozier, it was natural that Mr Leighton would be among them, after hiring him to Royal Mail in 2003.

Mr Leighton's sphere of influence grew this week with the appointment of Dalton Philips , a protege at Galen Weston's retail group where Mr Leighton is the main family adviser.


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