Ken Morrison: Mogul who never lost his gift for thrift

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With his sharp mind and strong work ethic, Sir Ken Morrison was a grocer to the core.

He transformed Morrisons into a national player, but never lost sight of the importance of thrift and good customer service.

Ken Morrison pictured at his Bradford HQ

Ken Morrison pictured at his Bradford HQ

Thirteen years ago, Sir Ken stunned the City with his bold and successful £3bn bid for Safeway that turned him and his supermarket chain into a major national player.

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Bowing out with applause ringing in his ears

Sir Ken joined his family’s small Bradford market trading operation in 1952 and built it up to become the country’s fourth-largest supermarket chain.

By the end of his career, he was a national player, but he never abandoned his home city of Bradford, which remained Morrisons’

headquarters. He kept in touch with his staff by stopping at the Harrogate store every morning to eat breakfast with his shoppers and staff.

In retirement, he wasn’t afraid to make his views known if he believed the business wasn’t being run properly. In 2008, he expressed some choice views when he appeared on stage to receive a lifetime achievement award at The Yorkshire Post’s Excellence in Business Awards. Click the screen above for video of the event.

Three years ago, Sir Ken made headlines when he levelled strong words at former CEO Dalton Philips at Morrisons’ AGM.

In 2015, Sir Ken urged shareholders to be patient as Morrisons’ new leadership worked to turnaround the grocer. He endorsed the path to recovery laid out by the chief executive David Potts, which focused on improving customer service.

It was this relentless commitment to providing shoppers with the goods they needed - at competitive prices - which defined his remarkable career.