Tributes paid to Sir Ken Morrison who has died

By Michael Stones

- Last updated on GMT

Tributes have been paid to the late Sir Ken Morrison
Tributes have been paid to the late Sir Ken Morrison

Related tags Sir ken Morrisons

Tributes have been paid to Sir Ken Morrison, who turned a small family grocery business into one of Britain’s biggest supermarkets, after his death at the age of 85.

The millionaire grocery tycoon – who pioneered the supermarket’s distinctive vertical integrated supply chain – died after a short illness.

Shore Capital’s head of research Dr Clive Black said Morrison was “one the most distinguished businessmen that we have had the pleasure of knowing”.

He was responsible for developing a small family business in West Yorkshire to become a national grocery institution, he said.

‘Thankful to him’

“Without Sir Ken, many hundreds of thousands of British families and businesses would not have had their working and commercial livelihoods; many folks will be thankful to him this day.”

Morrisons’ “lovely quirkiness and idiosyncrasy”​ was written large in the Morrisons business today, said Black. They were traits that current ceo David Potts CBE was maintaining, he added.

Black attributed Morrison’s success to his great empathy with shoppers, unwavering high standards, a huge retailing imagination, “a naughty sense of humour and just a proper way of doing things that many will say is sadly too lacking these days”.

Chief executive of the grocery think tank IGD, Joanne Denney-Finch said: “It was with great sadness we heard of the passing of Sir Ken Morrison. Hugely charismatic, he was a real leader and a true, genuine retailer to the core.

Sir Ken’s success due to:

  • ‘Great empathy with shoppers
  • ‘Unwavering high standards
  • ‘Huge retailing imagination
  • ‘Naughty sense of humour
  • ‘Proper way of doing things’

Source: Clive Black

“While always a tough negotiator, he was incredibly customer and people-focussed and the industry legacy from the great strides he made for retail during his tenure are unquestionable.”

‘An inspirational leader’

Morrisons’ current chairman Andrew Higginson said: "I know that I speak for the whole company when I say how profoundly sad we were to hear of Sir Ken's death. He was an inspirational leader and the driving force behind Morrisons for over half a century. Although he retired several years ago, his legacy is evident every day and in every aspect of our business.”

The supermarket boss will be remembered for his leadership, his passion for retailing and for his great love of Morrisons, he added.

"On a personal level, Ken was an enormous help to me as we made some significant changes to set the business on a new course; his knowledge of retail and his strategic insights have remained as relevant and intuitive as they were when he first built the business,”​ said Higginson.

Sir Ken was Morrisons chairman until 2008. He was awarded the CBE in 1990 and knighted in the Millennium New Year's Honours list for his services to the food retailing industry.

At his retirement in 2008, the supermarket had 375 stores, serving more than 9M customers a week.

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