Best Served Cold (eBook)

The Rise, Fall and Rise Again of Malcolm Walker - CEO of Iceland Foods

Malcolm Walker

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This is the dramatic story of the ups and downs of a born entrepreneur. Malcolm Walker was born in the West Riding of Yorkshire in 1946. With fellow Woolworth’s trainee manager Peter Hinchcliffe, Walker opened a small frozen food shop called Iceland in the Shropshire town of Oswestry in 1970. Iceland became a public company 14 years later, through one of Britain’s most successful stock exchange flotations of all time, and by 1999 it had grown into a £2 billion turnover business with 760 stores. In August 2000, Iceland merged with the Booker cash and carry business and Walker announced that he would step down as CEO in March 2001. In preparation for his retirement, he sold half his shares in the company and left for the holiday of a lifetime in the Maldives. However, while he was away the new management of the company slashed profit expectations, plunging Iceland into a £26m loss rather than the £130m profit the City had been expecting. Walker was fired and spent three years under investigation by the authorities before being cleared of any wrongdoing. In Walker’s absence, Iceland’s sales collapsed as customers deserted the company – and, almost exactly four years after he had left the business, he returned as its boss. His amazing revival of Iceland has seen like-for-like sales grow by more than 50% and the business winning the accolade of Best Big Company To Work For In the UK. In March 2012 Walker led a £1.5bn management buyout of the company and is now personally worth over £200m. The incredible story of Walker’s life – which he tells here for the first time – is as dramatic as any you will find in business, and it serves as a model for how, through hard work and intelligent risk-taking, it is possible from a relatively modest upbringing to build a national enterprise and a household name known to millions.

Malcolm Walker co-founded Iceland in 1970 and was its Chairman and Chief Executive through 30 years of continuous sales growth. He left Iceland under a cloud early in 2001, but returned four years later to lead a transformation in its performance. Iceland today has sales of £2.6 billion, 800 stores and 25,000 employees, and is recognised as one of the Best Companies to Work For in the UK.

‘A few years ago Malcolm sent me an early draft of his then unfinished book, which I read whilst on Necker. It was a real page turner and I called him immediately to tell him how much I enjoyed it. I feel that we have much in common in our unconventional management styles, which have helped us overcome adversity and have fun along the way. Having lost his job at the company he founded, Malcolm’s comeback has been remarkable. Now I see how the story ends it should be compulsory reading and a real inspiration for all budding entrepreneurs.’Sir Richard Branson
‘A genius for retail we can all learn from.’Sir Terry Leahy, former CEO of Tesco
‘[Walker’s] drive, tenacity and knowledge of his business remained with him throughout his turbulent period away from Iceland, and I was not remotely surprised by his great comeback. His story demonstrates that, regardless of any setback, if you know your business, care about your business and wake up every morning loving what you do, you have a great chance of making it a success. Well done, Malcolm.’Sir Philip Green
‘Having competed with Iceland, and therefore Malcolm, throughout my retail career, the insight this book provides into what makes him tick would have been invaluable to me, had it been published 20 years ago! A great comeback story written by one of the true characters of recent retail history.’Justin King, CEO Sainsbury’s


about this book

ISBN: 9781848317017

Price: 7.99

Pages: 352

Publication date: 07/11/2013


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