Bill Grimsey

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Bill Grimsey
Born (1952-01-21) 21 January 1952 (age 66)
Kensington, London, England
Occupation Businessman
Spouse(s) Jan
Children Two sons[1]

William Grimsey (born 21 January 1952, in Kensington, London) is an English businessman who has specialised in the food and DIY sectors, most notably at Wickes, Iceland, and Focus (DIY).

Early career[edit]

Grimsey left school at 15 to become a butcher's boy. Under pressure from his father he then trained as a civil engineer for two years before returning to college to take his A-levels, and joining Bishop's Food Stores as a trainee manager, rising to become a director. The chain was eventually bought by Booker. When Bishop's merged with Budgens in 1986, Grimsey joined Tesco to work for Lord MacLaurin.

In 1988, Grimsey left to run Hutchison Whampoa's Park n' Shop supermarket chain in Hong Kong, where he remained five years, increasing profits twentyfold. He then returned to the United Kingdom for a short spell at Kingfisher plc.[1]

Wickes[edit]

He then ran Wickes' joint venture in South Africa, returning to England again in July 1996 to take up the position of managing director of WBS, the Wickes' retailing subsidiary which was at the centre of serious accounting irregularities. In November Grimsey moved to Wickes to oversee its recovery from the accounting irregularity scandal that saw its share price suspended and the banks foreclosing.[2] Grimsey launched a rights issue,[3] started an employee share scheme, and turned around the company to the point where it was bought by Focus-Do-It-All, backed by Duke Street Capital for a reported £289m in September 2000. He believed this represented fair value for shareholders at the time,[4] yet four years later the business was sold again for £950m to Travis Perkins.[5]

Iceland[edit]

In January 2001 he took up the position of CEO of Iceland, replacing Stuart Rose who had been CEO since Iceland's merger with Booker plc in the summer of 2000.[6] Malcolm Walker, Iceland's founder & Chairman, was forced to stand down soon after as it was revealed he had sold £13.5 million of Iceland shares five weeks before the company released the first of several profits warnings.[7][8] Walker was not fully cleared of these allegations until October 2004.[9]

Iceland was renamed the Big Food Group in February 2002,[10] and attempted a refocus on the convenience sector with a bid for Londis.[11] Grimsey remained until the takeover and demerger of the Big Food Group by a consortium led by the Icelandic company, Baugur Group in February 2005. Walker returned to his previous role at Iceland.[10] Under Walker's control Iceland's website is a polemic against Grimsey's period in charge,[12] a campaign Walker continued to drive home up to 2013.[13]

FTI Palladium Partners[edit]

Grimsey had a brief spell as a Senior Managing Director (interim manager) at FTI Palladium Partners, London from March 2006.[14]

Focus DIY[edit]

He was appointed CEO of Focus (DIY) on its acquisition by Cerberus Capital for £230m in June 2007, stating at the time that "Focus has the potential to be one of the most successful operators in the DIY sector".[15] Two years later, in August 2009, Grimsey successfully sought a CVA agreement with creditors to save the business from administration.[16] In May 2011, with Grimsey now as chairman, the company was declared insolvent and appointed Ernst & Young as administrators.[17]

Non-executive roles[edit]

He served as a non-executive director of Capita Group plc from October 2006[18][19] until standing down in July 2010.[20]

In March 2012 he was appointed a non-executive director of Findel plc.[21]

High Street[edit]

Grimsey published a book in 2012 regarding the High Street debate: Sold Out[22] which was written for him by professional ghostwriter Teena Lyons.[23]

In 2013 he published a report on the state of the high street retail sector, The Grimsey Review,[24] which led the Labour party to appoint him as an advisor[25] but six months later he had still not met the party's leader Ed Miliband.[26]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Mathiason, Nick (2001-01-28). "Butcher's boy with a lot to deliver at Iceland". London: The Observer. Retrieved 2009-04-16. 
  2. ^ Tooher, Patrick (1996-11-29). "Wickes names Grimsey as new chief executive". London: Independent.co.uk. Retrieved 2009-04-16. 
  3. ^ Cope, Nigel (1997-01-07). "Wickes to resume trading today". Independent. Retrieved 2009-04-16. [dead link]
  4. ^ "Do It All at Wickes". BBC. 2000-09-01. Retrieved 2009-04-16. 
  5. ^ Travis nails Wickes for £950m | Business | The Guardian
  6. ^ "Iceland pays the price of Rose's organic neglect". London: Independent.co.uk. 2001-01-23. Retrieved 2009-04-16. 
  7. ^ Rankine, Kate (2001-04-11). "Walker quits after Iceland sales dive". London: Telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 2009-04-16. 
  8. ^ Cave, Andrew (2001-08-21). "'I acted properly' says Iceland's Malcolm Walker". London: Telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 2009-04-16. 
  9. ^ Laurance, Ben (2004-10-17). "Walker gets all-clear over Iceland". Mail on Sunday. Retrieved 2009-04-16. 
  10. ^ a b "Iceland's history". Iceland. Archived from the original on 5 March 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-16. 
  11. ^ Reece, Damian (2003-12-29). "Grimsey goes on charm offensive to woo wavering Londis shareholders". London: Independent.co.uk. Retrieved 2009-04-16. 
  12. ^ "The one, two, three, four, five year recovery plan!". iceland.co.uk. Retrieved 2009-04-16. 
  13. ^ Halliwell, James (4 September 2013). "Iceland boss Walker marks 800th store with a swipe at Grimsey". The Grocer. Retrieved 7 August 2014. 
  14. ^ "Retail Experts Join FTI Palladium Partners, London". Business Wire. 2006-03-27. Retrieved 2009-04-16. 
  15. ^ Groves, Michael (2007-06-18). "'The Bills' parachuted in to troubled Focus by new owner Cerberus". The Daily Telegraph. London. 
  16. ^ Moya, Elena (2009-08-23). "Focus DIY in insolvency deal to save 5,000 jobs". The Guardian. London. 
  17. ^ Zoe Wood; Julia Kollewe (25 May 2011). "Focus DIY to shed 3,000 jobs as stores close". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 17 July 2011.  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-13294178
  18. ^ "Corporate governance". Capita Group plc. 2009. Archived from the original on 1 May 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-16. 
  19. ^ "ft.com/marketsdata - Capita Group CPI:LSE". FT.com. Retrieved 2009-04-16. 
  20. ^ Capita plc. "Annual Report 2011" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 29 September 2011. Retrieved 17 July 2011. 
  21. ^ Whiteaker, Jon (14 February 2012). "Findel appoints ex-Focus CEO to its board". Retail Gazette. Retrieved September 22, 2012. 
  22. ^ Grimsey, Bill (2012). Sold Out. Filament Publishing. p. 225. ISBN 978-1908691316. 
  23. ^ Lyons, Teena. "Previous work". Retrieved 2013-12-10. 
  24. ^ Grimsey, Bill (September 2013). "The Grimsey Review" (PDF). Filament Publishing. p. 59. Archived from the original (PDF) on 7 October 2013. Retrieved 7 August 2014. 
  25. ^ Neville, Simon (10 January 2014). "Bill Grimsey to advise Labour over high streets and business rates". The Independent. Retrieved 7 August 2014. 
  26. ^ "Labour's High Street champion awaiting Miliband meeting". BBC News. 22 July 2014. Retrieved 7 August 2014.