James Gerald Gulliver

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James Gerald Gulliver CVO (17 August 1930 – 12 September 1996) was the founder of Argyll Foods, one of the United Kingdom's largest retail businesses.

Career[edit]

Born in Campbeltown and educated at the University of Glasgow and Georgia Institute of Technology, Gulliver served for three years in the Royal Navy before joining Urwick Orr & Partners, management consultants.[1] In 1965 he joined Fine Fare where he became chairman within two years.[1] During his time the business grew from a turnover of £75 million to £200 million.

In 1977, together with Alistair Grant, a marketing specialist for whom he had worked with at Fine Fare, and David Webster, a merchant banker, he founded James Gulliver Associates. In September 1978, he bought the meat company belonging to Manchester United chairman Louis Edwards for £100,000 plus shares and renamed it Argyll Foods, acquiring numerous retail concerns including 130 Safeway outlets.[1] Within 10 years of the purchase, the company was worth £1.7 billion. Gulliver also bought 100,000 of Edwards' shares in Manchester United for £250,000 and was given a seat on the club's board of directors (although fellow director and former manager Matt Busby abstained from the vote to give Gulliver a seat, saying he did not know who Gulliver was).[2] Gulliver later became the club's vice-president. He sold his stake in 1986, but retained two seats in the directors' box at the club's Old Trafford ground.[3] He was also the vice-chairman of Heart of Midlothian.[4]

In 1985, he tried unsuccessfully to acquire Distillers but lost the bidding to Guinness. He retired from the business later that year.[1]

He was awarded the CVO for his services to the Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme.[4]

He died in Edinburgh in 1996.[4]

Family[edit]

He was married four times, lastly to Melanie, and had 5 children.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e James Gulliver Chairman of Food Group dies at 66 New York Times, 17 September 1996
  2. ^ Dewhurst, Keith (2009). When You Put on a Red Shirt. London: Yellow Jersey Press. p. 258. ISBN 9780224082839. 
  3. ^ Basham, Brian (23 September 1996). "Obituary:James Gulliver". independent.co.uk (Independent Print). Retrieved 17 April 2015. 
  4. ^ a b c RSE Fellowship