He has been a non-executive director of the company since its launch in 1986. He succeeds Sir Ralf Dahrendorf, who resigned earlier this month.
Mr Davison said the two main issues facing the company were changes in the marketplace, following the Guardian's acquisition of the Observer, and its relationship with investors. He said his immediate role was to meet investors, and a rights issue was a possibility.
After a career in accountancy, Mr Davison has held a variety of jobs. As managing partner of Arthur Andersen in London from 1966 to 1982, he built up the United Kingdom practice from a staff of 180 to 2,000.
His highest profile and most difficult post was as the first external chief executive of Lloyd's. Lord Richardson, then Governor of the Bank of England, asked Mr Davison to take on the role of 'Mr Clean' after the insurance market had been rocked by frauds. After an intensive period of reform, Mr Davison resigned earlier than expected in 1986.
He then wrote the book A View of the Room: Lloyd's change and disclosure, in which he claimed the power structure at Lloyd's was inadequate to maintain the reform programme.
His next job as chairman of the Hong Kong Securities Review Committee was his most successful, he claims. The review, carried out as a result of the stock market crash in 1987, was completed in June 1988. Legislation taking in nearly all the recommended reforms was enacted in 1989 and Hong Kong's financial markets withstood the events of Tiananmen Square, China, in summer 1989 without having to close.
Mr Davison then moved into the securities industry, taking up the chairmanship of C L - Alexanders Laing & Cruickshank in 1988. He stepped down three years later, but remained a director.
Since replacing Sir Terence Conran as chairman of Storehouse in 1990, Mr Davison steered the retail group through the recession, reduced profits and a series of disposals including the Habitat chain. Profits in the last financial year to March recovered strongly to pounds 46.6m, before exceptional costs, from pounds 15.8m the previous year.
Mr Davison is also a non-executive director of Chloride, Cadbury- Schweppes, CIBA-Geigy and executive chairman of the National Mortgage Bank. Earlier this week he took on the non-executive chairmanship of McDonnell Douglas Information systems.
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