Ken Morrison

Sir Ken Morrison joined the family provisions business in 1952 after completing his National Service, taking over aged 26, when his father William became ill.

Over the next 56 years Morrison was to transform the business out of all recognition. The first self-service store opened in 1958. The first supermarket launched three years later. In 1967, he floated the business on the Stock Market. By the time he retired in 2008 it was a national supermarket chain totalling 375 stores.

Having steered the chain through an unbroken period of profitable growth, arguably the lowpoint in his career was the £3bn acquisition of larger rival Safeway in 2004.

It proved a bumpy ride, as Morrisons slipped to its first-ever loss in 2005, issuing five profit warnings in total, as he struggled with the integration.

However the deal was transformational for Morrisons turning it into a national player for the first time and ultimately prevented it from becoming a takeover target.

On his retirement, Sir Ken was made life president, and remained an influential figure within the business and a thorn in the side of subsequent chief executives.

He reserved his harshest criticism for Dalton Philips, accusing the then CEO of turning Morrisons away from its core customers, including an infamous attack at a fractious agm in 2014. He said: “Since retiring I’ve decided to fatten cattle. I have something like 1,000 bullocks and having listened to your presentation, Dalton… you’ve got a lot more bullshit than I have.”