Name: Morton Middleditch
Was: Managing director for Spar
Years in grocery: 35
Career background: I joined Spar in 1970 and progressed to serve as assistant MD. I was a main board director of Spar and the Landmark Group and in 1998 was appointed Spar MD. I retired at 60 having secured my successor and was appointed for two years as chairman of Spar UK and the National Guild. I also chaired the OPEN campaign, securing protection for small stores to be open all day on Sunday, with mults restricted to six hours.
Biggest achievements: I am proud that upon my appointment as MD I lifted the morale of a business that appeared to have lost confidence in itself, and returned it to strong growth. The OPEN Sunday trading campaign was particularly satisfying - and it led to recognition with a Trade Lifetime Achievement award in 2004.
What have you been up to since? I moved with my wife to Exmouth in 2006. My wife and I are members at East Devon Golf Club. I play regularly and am immersed in running seniors competitions. I wrote and self-published a novel and am completing work on a second. I also paint and sketch.
What do you miss about grocery? I thought I would miss the cut and thrust but other things fill the time and without the stress. As a keen golfer I perhaps miss the golf days and Pro Am’s. In truth I was ready to retire, but I still enjoy talking with two former but still-active Spar chairmen, Ian Hall and Peter Blakemore, who remain close friends.
Would you come back? No. “Get off the pot and stay off” is my motto. After 35 years in one company and eight years retired I suspect I’m now unemployable! I still read about the sector but as much as I loved my work, there is a life after Spar.