You may may read in the financial press (or if not you can read the official statement here) that Tim How, our chief executive of many years, has decided to retire in the near future.
I joined Majestic just a month or so before Tim, and my career in the wine trade has been entirely under his aegis, so it will be a sad day when he actually leaves. (I was about to write steps out of the door, but that wouldn’t be very apt – Tim is currently on crutches having ruptured an achilles tendon playing tennis!). The good news though is that Steve Lewis, who will replace Tim, has been with Majestic even longer, so a seamless change is assured.
Having graduated into a management trainee role in the desiccated world of academic publishing, I was offered voluntary redundancy and jumped at the chance to move into a more interesting career. Under the guise of training on a newly installed computer system I wrote letters to everybody I could find in a directory of the wine trade. After a scary day in an independent wine merchant where, left alone in the shop unable to even open the till, I was offered a post on £60 a week, I received the only other response to a letter, from Majestic, and joined as a trainee manager in summer 1991.
I suppose the fact that I’m still here 17 years later is a testament to the great environment that Majestic offers. In that time the business has been transformed from a basket case to a thriving chain, the largest of its type in the country and which continues to push forward into new territory. Wine has been democratised, with the supermarkets being by far our biggest competitors, but we continue thrive, offering a mixture of innovation and high levels of customer service that isn’t done anywhere else. I’ve been able to reinvent myself several time during this period too, and hope to continue to do so, but there’s no doubt that Tim’s decision to move on is a big one. Good luck Tim.