Sir Ken Morrison may have finally retired from the supermarket chain he built, but at the annual shareholder meeting earlier this month he showed he's not going to sink into oblivion.

Couched in his typical jocular style, the feisty Yorkshireman made clear his feelings on Morrisons' plans to launch a £1bn share buyback during a period of economic slowdown.

His attack on the policy won support from loyal private investors who have benefited from Sir Ken's handling of the supermarket's finances over the years.

So now that Sir Ken has given up the day job, does he plan to develop a new role as an activist investor using his family's 16 % stake as a persuasive lever? And will his views count with the broader investment community?

The man himself says no. "I'm not going to be a crusader," he says. "But there is no point grumbling in private."

He says he has particularly strong opinions about the philosophy of keeping a tight rein on spending and debt and he felt the buyback issue was sufficiently important that he needed to state his position. "I'm a substantial shareholder and I'm entitled to make my views clear," he says.

"I've always been aware that I would be the world's worst part-time person. You are bound to make comments and those are not always welcome and constructive," he says, adding that he has no desire to regularly get involved with running the company.

If he keeps his word, it is likely to draw a sigh of relief from the Morrisons board given the long and unruly history of founding retail fathers who have struggled to step back from their creations.

Lord Stanley Kalms, the entrepreneur who built the Dixons electricals retail business, still receives a salary from what is now known as DSG International, despite stepping down as chairman in 2002. And the Moss and Gee families continue to carp at plans made by the Moss Bros fashion chain's managers.

It's clear that Sir Ken disagreed with a number of the board's decisions in the latter part of his time at the company, such as the expensive rebranding and marketing campaign. As an independent voice he may now feel freer to express those views. Although he doesn't retain an office at Morrisons' headquarters, he can occasionally be spotted in the staff canteen chatting with colleagues.

Some believe that the buyback was a particular issue close to his heart and he isn't likely to be so vocal again. But with his name still over the door, he is bound to want to express his views again.

Some analysts believe Morrisons' board would be foolish not to draw on Sir Ken's wealth of experience and knowledge.

"Of course his views matter because on many issues he is going to remain a key sounding board ," Andrew Kasoulis, an analyst at Credit Suisse argues. "He has probably forgotten more about retail and Morrisons than anyone else has ever known."

It's possible that over time he could build a positive role in the company. In fact, Sir Ian Gibson, Morrisons' new chairman, acknowledged Sir Ken's value to the company when he said that the board intended to consult Sir Ken, now in the honorary role of president, on many issues.

On balance sheet gearing the major shareholders and Morrisons' banking advisers see themselves as the experts and Sir Ken's views are more likely to be disregarded. When it comes to the firm's operational performance they may be more interested in what he has to say.