Allan Leighton began his career in 1974 as a salesman with Mars Confectionery and worked his way up through the ranks before leaving in 1991. He then joined Pedigree Petfoods, where he was Sales Director until his move in 1992 to ASDA Stores Limited.
Allan joined ASDA as Group Marketing Director, and was appointed Chief Executive four years later in September 1996. It was in this role that Allan was credited with turning around what he once described as a 'basket case' into a highly successful company. And in November 1999 Allan sold ASDA to American company Wal-Mart for £6.7 billion, he then became the President and CEO of Wal-Mart Europe.
After leaving Asda/Wal-Mart in November 2000, Allan developed a new work ethic - 'Going Plural' as he took on non-executive positions in a string of companies including lastminute.com, Leeds United, BHS, BSkyB and Selfridges.
In 2002 Allan Leighton joined Royal Mail as company Chairman and whilst in the post he drove a period of modernisation that has transformed Royal Mail from loss making into a profitable business. Allan stepped down from his role in March 2009 making him Royal Mail's longest serving Chairman.
Former Deputy Chairman of Selfridges & Co, President of Loblaw Companies, in February 2015 Allan became the first independent Chairman of The Co-operative Group.