Sir Terry Leahy has presented his last set of Tesco results to us before his retirement in March 2011.
For me it was a quite a poignant event given I was sitting in the audience when the then-Mr Leahy presented his first update as the newly appointed chief executive of Tesco.
Sir Terry should be due generous praise. The growth that Tesco has delivered for its investors since the commencement of his 'reign' has been excellent. More to the point though, he has left an outstanding legacy for his fellow Liverpudlian, Philip Clarke, to take on. The present platform for Tesco arguably goes well beyond Mr Clarke's reign if the group's potential in non-food, financial services, online, China, India, Japan and the USA is realised.
Tesco's success for its investors is not just about one man. However, I believe that it has been his vision, intellect, insights, relationships, drive, discipline, magnificent understanding of consumers, markets and competitors that has delivered Tesco's achievements to date. He's not so different from Sir Alex Ferguson, who doesn't score goals for Manchester United, but is undoubtedly the thinking and foundation behind the club's success.
Sir Terry has not just delivered for investors. Tesco is now the UK's largest private sector employer, and a good employer at that. It has also served millions of customers well, customers who, despite all the noise, do have the choice to shop elsewhere. And with that demand, there are suppliers many suppliers that have done very well indeed.
Another big plus is that on the big issues of the day such as climate change, Sir Terry is one of the most influential thinkers when it comes to moving from talking to doing something about it environmentalists take note! Sir Terry has served his stakeholders exceptionally well and while one can never please everyone all of the time, he should be proud of his achievements.
Terry Leahy has not left yet and so I do not wish to pre-empt the contribution he may yet make. But I would like to take this opportunity to do two things before he leaves.
Firstly, to thank him for the story that he has allowed me to chronicle for the past 15 years and secondly and - most importantly - to wish him a long, healthy, fruitful and enjoyable retirement as he joins Sir Ken Morrison and Lord John Sainsbury in the mass market grocery retailers' hall of fame.
Dr Clive Black is head of research at Shore Capital Stockbrokers.