Rowan Gormley

Gormley’s leadership may have irked, but it shouldn’t be forgotten that he balanced the books

Just when you thought it was safe to close the book on the Majestic sale saga, Rowan Gormley quits as boss of the recently divorced Naked Wines.

Was his turnaround of Majestic a shrewd crusade or a deluded wild goose chase?

Gormley’s leadership irked because it encumbered Majestic with a confusing range and alienated its core customer base. It showed us what flies online doesn’t always translate into stores. And that marketing and ‘innovation’ is important, but should never come at the expense of the right product for the core customer.

But he did work Majestic into the strongest financial position it’s seen in a while (even if sales and profits fell in the last half).

Many are pleased to see Majestic’s new owners (the sale is yet to complete) going back to basics with premium brands, as well as the return of CEO John Colley. The retailer’s relaunch last month was profoundly reassuring to customers and suppliers. But it shouldn’t be forgotten that Gormley balanced the books.

Credit where credit’s due: Gormley pursued a bold vision. But as for his legacy? The jury is still out.

Majestis brings back the classics in major range shake-up