Name: Colin Graves
Was: Chairman of Costcutter
Now: Chairman of Yorkshire County Cricket Club and deputy chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board
Years in grocery: 44
Career background: Graves joined Spar in 1968 and by the age of 37 had worked his way up the ranks to sales director. But he fell out of love with the business and in 1986 left to go it alone and set up Costcutter. He sold a 49% stake to Bibby Line Group in 2007, and the remaining 51% to Bibby in November 2011. But he left six months later following a boardroom bust-up having only been offered the role of non-executive chairman at the company.
What is he doing now? Graves’ biggest passion has always been cricket. He was a member of the ‘Gang of Four’ in 2002 who saved Yorkshire County Cricket Club from financial ruin and has been a board director since then. He became executive chairman when he left Costcutter. He has also been a board director of the England and Wales Cricket Board since 2010, and was elected deputy chairman earlier this month. When he was nominated for the role, he said. “I am honoured that the First Class Counties and MCC have chosen to nominate me. I am most grateful for the support of my colleagues.”
Biggest achievements in grocery: From very small beginnings, where suppliers would use his own kitchen as a ‘waiting room’ to meet him, Graves grew Costcutter into a household name with more than 1,600 stores and £640m sales. He is widely regarded as a legend in the convenience industry.
What next? Graves no longer has any involvement with Costcutter. And with the new deputy chairman role at the ECB to look forward to, it looks like he has swapped grocery for cricket for good.