Retail Week tracks down the names who were making the news 10 years ago


Ann Iverson had a busy year in 1995. At the start of the year, the former Mothercare chief executive was in the US as chief executive of Kay Bee Toys. Within months, however, she had been lured back to the UK, with the task of turning around Laura Ashley, where she was appointed as chief executive in June 1995.

Today, Iverson has her own consultancy, International Link, which she formed in 1998. Most of her consultancy work is within the private sector, but she also works as a UK retail specialist for US-based Financo Global Consulting and as an advisor to investment firm Whitney.

She also sits on the board of Thunderbird, the Garvin School of International Management and building materials company Owens Corning. 'I divide my time between my consultancy practice, working with Financo and volunteer work,' says Iverson.

She says she doesn't miss being involved day-to-day in retail, although it's easy to detect a fondness for Mothercare. 'I'm in a wonderful season in my life, where the experience I've gained and the knowledge I have I can give back,' she says.


Beverley Hodson was managing director of Children's World in 1995. After being ousted from WHSmith last year, she is still considering her next role, but has taken a board position at Legal and General.


In February 1995, Eddie Styring returned to his role as chairman and chief executive of Comet, after spending time at European Brands Group and then Asda, which he joined on the same day as Archie Norman.

He left Comet in 1999 and the following year co-founded a rival household electrical goods e-tailer called Helpful Home Shopping Company, of which he was chairman and chief executive. However, the venture closed four years ago. 'We couldn't get the sales volume,' he says.

Today, the 61-year-old continues to run Eddie Styring & Partners, the consultancy he established in 1993, and he recently advised on the PowerHouse/ Pacific Retail Group deal. Ironically, his company does not have a presence on the internet. 'I'm not into web sites,' he laughs.

Styring is also an adviser and investor in Resourcing, a headhunting company aimed at middle management in which he has been involved for the past 18 months. 'It recruits people who fit the job, rather than just recruiting to fill the job,' he says.

Despite changes in the rest of the sector, Styring says the electricals market hasn't changed much. 'It's still Dixons and Kesa, although most of the smaller players have gone,' he says. 'Today you have to be bigger, have better finances and be better managed.'


In 1995, two years after his ousting as chairman of Pentos, which once included Dillons, Ryman and Athena, Terry Maher had just published his first book and launched rival book chain Maher the Booksellers.

Today he has an enviable lifestyle. 'Any work I do, I do at home. I don't do any work after lunch and thoroughly recommend it,' he says. Instead his afternoons are spent playing bridge. 'I have a very self-satisfying life, but it does have a mark of self indulgence.'

Maher continues to be involved with his middle son's book chain, which has now expanded to four stores, as well as his oldest son's car accessories business. He has also continued his writing career, and his first novel, Unfinished Business, was published last year.

However, Maher is critical of today's book retailers. 'The thing I've found depressing about book retailing is price control. When I think of the amazing things we (Dillons) did around promoting books, book retailers have the opportunity today to use price in the same way that other retailers do and they don't. The extent of their marketing efforts is buy two get one free - there's not much advertising and it lacks imagination,' he says.


In 1995, Keith Edelman was credited with leading Storehouse - then comprising Bhs and Mothercare - into recovery. He had had more jobs than hot dinners, but was trying tried to convince the industry that his wandering was over, saying he would stay 'at least a decade'.

Four years later, Edelman was out. In 2000, he swapped retail for football, taking over the managing directorship of Arsenal FC, where he remains today.

He says he misses little about retail. 'It (football) is a fantastic business. It's more than just a brand - it's people's lives.' However, he admits there are parallels between the two sectors. 'They are both open to the public and are very consumer-facing,' he says.

Edelman is critical of market forces that have led so many retailers to go private, saying the City and the press have approached the sector 'as gossip columns. The investment community has done a poor job in understanding retail,' he says.


Blacks Leisure chairman Simon Bentley could have been forgiven for giving up on business five years ago, after a serious skiing accident nearly cost him his life. Yet today Bentley is busier than ever.

He works as deputy chairman of Mishcon de Reya solicitors and also has a number of non-executive director roles, including positions at fashion retailers Morgan and Speciality Retail Group. He is also chairman of hair company Umberto Giannini and television subscription retailer You Me TV.

In addition, Bentley works with audio guide company Espro, is an investor in Build a Bear and a co-partner in mobile ATM business Dominion ATM Banking Systems.

'On top of that I'm involved with a lot of charity things, including being a trustee of the Leadership Trust and learning difficulties charity Kisharon, as well as the Jerusalem College of Technology. I'm so busy it drives me mad, but it's better to be busy than the other way around,' he says.


Ten years ago, Andrew Higginson (pictured in1995) was group finance director of Burton Group and chairman of the BRC's Economic Committee, tasked with helping to convince the Government to better support the retail industry. These days, as one of Sir Terry Leahy's right-hand men, Tesco finance director Higginson is helping to build the supermarket's incredible success.


Appointed as Safeway communications director in 1995 from his role as corporate affairs director at WHSmith, today Kevin Hawkins is the voice of retail as director general of the British Retail Consortium, a role he took up last year.


In 1995, Jim Hodkinson was back in the driving seat at B&Q, having left the chain briefly the previous summer. A two-month stint at rival retailer Home Depot culminated in his return to Kingfisher as chief executive of the DIY division in September 1994.

Four years later, the DIY man moved to New Look as chief executive. It was his last full-time role, which he left in 2000.

Today he is on the board of six companies, many of them in the retail sector. In addition, he chairs brand management consultancy Big Idea, as well as pallet and shipment company Polymer Logistics. However, the position taking up most of his time is his role as chairman of television shopping business Ideal Shopping Direct. 'That's been a terrific turnaround,' says Hodkinson. 'I'm enjoying myself and the diversity of businesses I'm involved with. I'm having a ball and am not ready to hang up my shoes yet. It's also much more enjoyable because I control my own time,' he says.

However, he doesn't envy today's retail bosses. 'It's got a lot tougher and it's much harder for retailers,' he says.


Martin Toogood has not strayed far from the sector of retail in which he worked in 1995, when he was managing director of B&Q. He is now chairman and chief executive of Danish furniture retailer Ilva, which is soon to launch in the UK.


Sir Geoff Mulcahy is another retail legend who, despite retiring from Kingfisher in 2003, is still very much involved in the retail scene. He spent 20 years as chief executive of the DIY business, but today is chairman of consultancy Javelin Group. He also has a number of non-executive positions and joined the board of Brown & Jackson last week.

He says retailers must work harder than ever to satisfy customers. 'The wheel of retail has kept on turning. As ever, customers want better products with more service at better prices. What was good enough in 1995 is not good enough today,' he says.

Mulcahy also believes that those who have allowed their crown to slip in the past 10 years may never regain their positions of power. 'Those (legacy) retailers that haven't kept up with their customers have even bigger issues than might generally be appreciated, and most will never recover their former glory,' he says.


In 1995, Rebecca Cotterell was managing director of Adams and went on to become chief executive of Jaeger until October 1999. Since then she has been running her own business, after setting up The Retail Practice in 2000. 'I realised a lot of the companies I was going into I was doing the same job over and over again,' she says. She realised there was a gap in the market for a consultancy that would help retailers develop their retail proposition. Since then, she has worked with the likes of Nike, World Duty Free and Target in the US.

Cotterell says she loves her role. 'It's nice because you don't get involved in some of the politics of corporates, but you still get the buzz.' She also enjoys life more. 'You exchange the bigger salaries for a better quality of life,' she explains.

However, she is surprised at the number of retailers that have failed to move on in the past 10 years. 'While there are many things that have changed, we still walk into companies that look like they are still based on 10 or 15 years ago,' she says.


A year after joining Burton menswear as managing director, Greg Tufnell spent 1995 working on the roll-out of a new store design for the menswear chain.

More recently, Tufnell, brother of cricket star Phil, ran Mothercare until 2000, but has been chief executive of Marchpole Holdings since 2002.


Liam Strong, who was Sears chief executive when this picture was taken in 1995, has been president and chief executive officer of communications company Teleglobe since 2003. Before that, he was president and chief executive officer of MCI Worldcom until 2001, after leaving Sears in 1997. He is also chairman of the UK Government's telecoms security advisory board and a member of the Governing Council of the Ashridge Business School.


Sir Gordon Hourston was managing director of Boots the Chemists 10 years ago. More recently, he was knighted and stood down as chairman of Homestyle last year after seven years at the company. He was also previously chairman of United Biscuits.


In 1995, Sports Division founder Tom Hunter had formed holding company Mayfind with Philip Green to buy rival sports chain Olympus, with plans to merge the two. Since the sale of Sports Division to JJB Sports, Hunter has used his fortune to help a number of different causes, from charities to business ventures such as the acquisition of USC, Birthdays and Gadgetshop.


Ten years ago, Steven Sharp (pictured in 1995), former group marketing director at Burton, had just set up his own consultancy.

Last year, Sharp followed his old buddy Stuart Rose from Arcadia to Marks & Spencer. In his role as M&S marketing director, he has since driven the retailer's marketing strategy, including the launch of the Your M&S campaign last autumn.


Tim Daniels, who was managing director of Selfridges in 1995, is now busy doing nothing - and loving it. 'I was born for retirement,' he laughs.

Ten years ago he was steering the department store giant through a£75 million renovation. He had been managing director since 1987, but retired in 1996.

Today he is sitting by the pool in the blazing sun of his Tenerife timeshare, wondering what to have for lunch and looking forward to another four weeks in the sun. 'I took on a couple of non- executive positions when I retired, but that was interfering with my leisure activities,' he says.

Instead, Daniels realised he enjoyed the quiet life. 'It was such a change from having to get up at 5am that I got used to not having to do that,' he says.

Daniels retired to his holiday home in France, cultivating vegetables in his garden and enjoying the rural life. 'I did that for a few years and that was an enjoyable time, but eventually it got to the stage where the land was getting too big,' he says.

The house in France was swapped for a seafront apartment in Southern Spain and the Tenerife timeshare, with time now split between the two holiday homes and a UK cottage. 'I have a very healthy lifestyle now with lots of walking and swimming,' he says.

So what does he think of some of the retail changes of the past 10 years? Daniels says he is surprised by the downfall of some companies, particularly Allders - he was managing director of the Croydon flagship before moving to Selfridges. 'That's a tragedy,' he says.

However, he believes Stuart Rose is the right man for the job at Marks & Spencer. 'Stuart is a retailer right down to his fingertips. I'm absolutely confident he will get it right,' he says.


In 1995, Sir Bob Reid was appointed as chairman of retail conglomerate Sears, replacing Geoffrey Maitland-Smith. In common with his chief executive Liam Strong, the appointment was Sir Reid's first in retail, having previously held chairmanships at British Rail and Shell. He had received his knighthood five years previously.

More recently, as he approaches his 70th birthday, Sir Bob has been retiring many of his professional roles. He stood down as chancellor of Robert Gordon University last year after 12 years at the helm and retired as chairman of Avis Europe last May. However, he remains chairman of the International Petroleum Exchange and IPE Holdings.


In 1995, it was yet another four years before Dino Adriano would become one of the first retail reality television stars when he took part in the BBC2 documentary Back to the Floor as boss of Sainsbury's.

Instead, 10 years ago Adriano was at the helm of Homebase as joint chairman and managing director. 'He may be an accountant by training, but he's a businessman by nature,' said one colleague at the time.

Today, Adriano, who left Sainsbury's months after his television debut, puts his business talents to work at a number of charities on a voluntary basis and spends the rest of his time enjoying a work/life balance that also includes holidays, grandchildren and opera. In 2001, he became a trustee of WRVS - one of the UK's largest voluntary organisations, which helps the housebound and elderly maintain independence and dignity. He has also worked in the same role at Oxfam and for grocery charity Caravan, in a six-month role heading the Welfare Strategy Group. 'The charities I've tended to get involved with have all had retailing links,' he says.

Adriano also chairs the board of governors at Thames Valley University in a role that takes up one or two days a week.

So how does he feel about the past 10 years in retail? 'The competition has got tougher,' he says. 'Some big names have had a very tough time. Food has gone as expected and the multiples are getting more involved in other areas - that was coming. Internet shopping has taken a long time to move on. That has not proved to be the great opportunity in food.'

As for Sainsbury's, Adriano says the turnaround will be hard. 'It's an extremely tough task. Justin (King) is doing a good job and we should start to see things happen in a year or two,' he says. However, he is unsure whether Sainsbury's will ever regain the lead it held over Tesco 10 years ago. 'Anyone can be beaten, but it's difficult to see how. Tesco has got to be aware that it keeps sharp at home,' he says.


Today, 53-year-old prolific dealmaker Philip Green is one of the biggest names in retail, after snapping up Arcadia and Bhs in the past couple of years and igniting one of the highest-profile bid battles in years when he attempted to buy Marks & Spencer last year.

However, buying companies is what Green has always done. Ten years ago he had been buying again, adding a controlling interest in Owen & Robinson in July 1995. It was a new type of deal for Green and came only three years after his humbling ousting from Amber Day.

'I am older and a bit wiser. Last time I would have taken full control and come in as chairman. This time I am happy to act as banker and watch from the sidelines, working with the existing management,' Green said at the time.

The purchase followed the acquisition of Owen Owen/Lewis' department stores, and the One Up discount chain in the previous 12 months. Green was also running his own discount chain Xception.


Ask any retailer of 10 years ago who they admired and the answer is likely to be David Jones. Ten years later he still tops the popularity poll. The man who replaced Next founder George Davies as chief executive in 1989 was reporting what analysts referred to as 'phenomenal' sales performances in 1995. The retailer they called 'the sector's most outstanding buy' remains top of analysts' and retailers' favourites today.

Jones may have handedover his chief executive role to Simon Wolfson, but he remains as chairman and is busier than ever. September will see the release of These Foolish Things, a British film starring Lauren Bacall that he has helped co-produce, as well as the release of his autobiography, Next To Me: Luck, Leadership and Living with Parkinson's Disease.

Quite how Jones found the time to undertake such projects is anyone's guess. As well as his chairman's role at Next, he is also non-executive director at Morrisons and quarry company Aggregate Industries. He also has a number of private investments, including his own restaurant business. 'I enjoy keeping busy,' he says.

In addition, Jones also works with charities The Cure Parkinsons Trust and The Healing Foundation.

'Life has got a lot more competitive,' he says, adding that he believes the changes Philip Green has brought to the high street are interesting. 'He's taken a number of companies that were being managed and has had the opportunity to buy them cheaply and make them into something,' he says.


As Sainsbury's began its conversion of Texas to Homebase 10 years ago, then-Texas chief executive John Coleman and finance director David Adams saw themselves out of a job. But 52-year-old Coleman, previously managing director of Dorothy Perkins, joined House of Fraser as chief executive a year later, taking Adams along as his deputy. More recently, Coleman has added a non-executive director role at Travis Perkins.


In 1995, Ian Cheshire was appointed development director of Sears. Before that, he worked at Piper Trust. Today, he is chief executive for international and development at Kingfisher.


Today, everyone knows the Baker name. As chief executive of Boots the Chemists, 42-year-old Richard Baker has a tough job ahead of him.

However, in 1995 a fresh-faced Baker was in the news for joining Asda from Mars, where he had been for 10 years. Joining as home and leisure business unit director, Baker eventually rose to become chief operating officer, before leaving in 2003 to join Boots.


Ten years ago, Russell Hardy had just joined optician Dollond & Aitchison as managing director. He rose to become chairman and chief executive, before leaving last year. At the start of this year, 44-year-old Hardy became chief executive of Blacks Leisure.


As the incumbent chief executive of Austin Reed, Nick Hollingworth has the job of turning around the menswear retailer. At Etam 10 years ago, the newly appointed managing director had a similarly difficult job. He had been poached from Burton Group - now Arcadia - a company he would eventually rejoin.


1995 was a year of empire building for the flamboyant Stephen Hinchliffe (pictured from the time below), and was the year he stepped into thelimelight as he added the likes of Salisbury's, Contessa, Oakland and Freeman Hardy Willis to his fascia group portfolio. Yet within a year this rapid expansion had been his downfall and his empire crumbled.

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) brought two prosecutions against him. In the first case, in February 2001, he was found was guilty and was sentenced to five years in prison for making corrupt payments of more than£800,000 to senior personnel at the London arm of Tel Aviv-based United Mizrahi Bank, paying them to bypass authorisation from Tel Aviv and sign loans amounting to£13 million to finance his retail expansion plans, according to the FSO. Two bank officials were also convicted.

In the second trial, shortly after his release from prison, he pleaded guilty to dishonestly receiving a personal benefit of£1.8 million and was sentenced in April 2003 to 15 months in prison, suspended for two years. He was also disqualified from acting as a company director for 12 years.

At this point, the SFO intervened again. 'Because the suspended sentence obviously was not an immediate custodial one, the SFO was of the view that it did not reflect the seriousness of the crime and recommended to the Attorney General that it be appealed. The appeal was upheld in the High Court and, in July 2003, a revised sentence was pronounced. He was ordered to report to a police station on July 21, 2003 to be taken into immediate custody for transfer to prison on an 18-month sentence,' says an SFO spokesman.

Hinchliffe's whereabouts now are unknown. It's likely that he would have qualified for half-time release, so may have left prison last summer. However, unlike in 1995, Hinchliffe is keeping a low profile today.


Former Marks & Spencer chairman and chief executive Richard Greenbury has mellowed since 1998, when he retired from the company. Today the 69-year-old says his only business commitment is working on the supervisory board of Philips Electronics. Instead, his time is spent doing charity work and working as a member of the Israel Britain Business Council.

'The rest of the time I'm enjoying my retirement,' he says. For Greenbury, that means spending time with his 11 grandchildren, playing tennis twice a week at Wimbledon where he is a member, and learning to play golf - a frustrating hobby, according to Greenbury. It also means supporting Manchester United - the same football team that he has supported for almost 50 years.

'I'm busy doing nothing, but I started work at 16 and worked for 46 years, so I've earned my pension. In my last 10 years I worked seven days a week,' he says.

So how does Greenbury think the sector has changed? 'I'm not sure it has changed that much. The names change, companies decline and other companies get stronger, but I don't think competition is any tougher - it's always been tough,' he says. One of the retailers he believes has shown the strongest growth is Next. 'I admire what David Jones and Simon Wolfson have achieved. It's a remarkable story. They have been helped by the problems at M&S,' he says.

However, there have been surprises too, according to Greenbury. 'I'm not surprised at the success of Asda and Tesco, but I have been surprised at the decline of Sainsbury's,' he says.

So how does he feel about M&S today? Greenbury says he believes Stuart Rose is the right man for the job. 'Rose is a good retailer and that's what M&S needs. They had six years of strategic thinkers who sat and thought and let the products go to hell,' he says.

But what if Philip Green had got the chain? 'Green is a capable man, but Stuart Rose is a very capable man too. I'm pleased that the company now has a retailer in charge,' he says.


In 1995 David Quarmby was joint managing director of Sainsbury's and non-executive chairman of Savacentre. Within a year he had swapped retail for tourism, becoming chairman of the English Tourist Board until 1999 and of the British Tourist Authority from 1996 until 2003. He was given a CBE last year.

Today the 54-year-old is chairman of the Strategic Rail Authority and chairman of SeaBritain 2005. He is also a governor of the University of Greenwich and was a board member of Transport for London until last year. Despite a long-term interest in transport - he originally ended up at Sainsbury's through a logistics and distribution route - he admits he misses the buzz of the retail scene. 'The fast-moving buzz, sense of urgency and the sense everyday counted I really enjoyed,' he says.


Ten years ago, WHSmith managing director Peter Bamford was promoted to the main board of the company. Two years later he joined Vodafone, where today he is group marketing director working with chairman Lord MacLaurin, himself formerly chairman of Tesco.


Appointed chairman of Sears Sports and Leisurewear division 10 years ago, in addition to his role as managing director of Sears womenswear, Derek Lovelock worked his way through the company to become chief executive of the womenswear division before Philip Green bought the business. Today, Lovelock is head of a fashion conglomerate once more as chief executive of Mosaic Fashions, the Baugur-owned fashion group - comprising Whistles, Karen Millen and Oasis - of which he led a management buy-out in 2001.


The summer of 1995 saw Patrick Woodall leave fashion retailer Esprit, where he had been since 1990, having been managing director since 1992. Last year, he also left fellow European fashion retailer Etam after five years as managing director, to join Adams in the same role.


Today, Somerfield is fending off the attentions of Baugur. In 1995, then-chief executive David Simons' task was to make the retailer 'the preferred, best-value supermarket for local and neighbourhood shopping' - still largely its raison d'etre today. Simons (pictured above in 1995) had moved from Storehouse two years before. Today he is chairman of Littlewoods and non-executive director of Greencore Group.


In 1995, former Adams managing director David Carter-Johnson's task was turning around Fosters Trading Company, a retailer that had been sold by Sears to its management. Although the chain itself has since disappeared, Carter-Johnson - a former Sears, Debenhams and C&J Clark man - stayed in retail and is now chairman at fashion brand Boxfresh.


In February 1995 Retail Week broke the news that Terry Leahy - who has since received a knighthood - promoted to the role of Tesco deputy managing director. Even 10 years ago Leahy was tipped to succeed then-chairman Ian MacLaurin, having moved up from the position of marketing director. Now the 49-year-old rules the roost of the UK's most successful retailer.


In 1995, the now 66-year-old was chief executive of Burton Group, to which he had been appointed three years previously. Today, under the guidance of head of clothing John Hoerner, Tesco's clothing business has flourished.


In April 1995 Dawna Walter launched storage retailer The Holding Company in the UK. Ten years on, she has swapped retail fame for a career in television and publishing. She left The Holding Company in 2000, although she and her husband retain a financial interest.

'Since I left I have written five books and have done three television series of Life Laundry, which is now finished. My new book, De-Junk Your Mind, is published in April by Penguin. I also have been writing a monthly column for Prima magazine for the past three years,' she says.

Walter also runs de-cluttering seminars with her friend Ann Maurice from television series The House Doctor. She teaches and practises reiki, a Japanese form of healing, from her London home.


In May 1995, Bryan Mayoh (pictured today) was promoted from managing director of Index to managing director of Littlewoods Home Shopping. Even by that time he had already been with the company for 20 years, previously working at Unilever and Kodak. He left his position of managing director in 1998.

When Mayoh retired from Littlewoods, he also retired from full-time work, but is still involved with the home shopping industry he grew to love and spends about 40 per cent of his time on business. He helped set up specialist retail consultancy Javelin Group, before handing over the chairmanship to Sir Geoff Mulcahy last year, and has also worked as an executive consultant for Findel, Express Gifts and Findel Education. He is also a consultant and non-executive director on the Screwfix board.

However, Mayoh has a new passion - breeding and selling thoroughbred horses. 'That's the bit that loses the money,' he laughs. 'They are jumpers so it takes seven years between conception and knowing if you have a winner, which is somewhat longer than retail.'

Mayoh says the sector has changed dramatically in the past 10 years. 'There are always new people coming along, and the people who looked unchallengable 10 years ago (such as M&S) now aren't.' However, he believes that the industry remains the same on other areas. 'Coming up with a good retail concept and serving the customer well have not changed,' he says.

So who does he admire? 'Those who walk the walk rather than talk the talk - people who, by vision, intelligence and good leadership, are able to achieve significant business transformation and long-term success,' he says.


There is a sense of deja vu this year with Malcolm Walker's return to Iceland, the chain he founded. He was ousted four years ago after a share dispute, of which he was only cleared last year.

Strangely, 1995 had already seen Walker defending himself against the City for selling shares - something he had felt he should not have to justify. 'If I'd dumped the whole lot it would be different, but I've only ever sold small quantities,' he said at the time.

In 1995, investors were worried that Walker wanted out after 25 years in the business, an accusation he denied. 'I am still excited about the business,' he said. Today he is back running Iceland, which has since been bought by Baugur.