Set-top box maker Pace has turned to former Royal Mail chairman Allan Leighton to help turn around its ailing fortunes.

Leighton, who is also currently deputy chairman of department store Selfridges and chairman of budget clothing chain Peacocks, will take over from current chairman Mike McTighe in the summer.

His appointment follows a turbulent six months for the Yorkshire-based group, which makes satellite and cable TV boxes.

In May, its shares tumbled after it warned profits this year would be well below market expectations at between 150 and 170 million US dollars (£97 million to £110 million) because of component supply problems related to the Japanese tsunami. Earlier in the year, Pace also revealed a major order from a US customer had been postponed until 2012.

Leighton said his task now was to help Pace develop as a “great technology company”, but without the “bumps”.

As part of the terms of his appointment, he has agreed to buy £200,000 worth of Pace shares. He has also been granted options over a further 600,000 shares at prices of 145p and 190p and which depend on Pace’s performance over the next four years.

Pace, which has its head office in Saltaire, West Yorkshire, employs around 1,200 staff in countries including the US, India and China.

McTighe, who has been on the Pace board for ten years and chairman for the past five, added that despite the recent setbacks, Pace is well positioned for the long term and that it was “terrific” Leighton had been appointed.

Prior to becoming chairman of Royal Mail, a post he left after seven years in 2009, Leighton was chief executive of Asda when it was sold to US retail giant Wal-Mart in 1999. He is also currently a non-executive director of satellite broadcaster BSkyB, one of Pace’s major customers.