It was back to his roots for Sir Malcolm Walker CBE, Founder and Executive Chairman of Iceland Foods, who was the keynote speaker at the Moreton Hall Investec Business Lunch.
Next year, will mark the fiftieth anniversary of Sir Malcolm opening his first Iceland store, selling loose frozen food, on the site it still occupies in Oswestry. Speaking in front of an audience of over 450 business guests as well as Moreton Hall students, Sir Malcolm took his audience through the highs and the lows of the Iceland Story from opening the first shop to becoming one of the UK’s top supermarkets with over 800 outlets.
In his entertaining and straight-talking speech, Sir Malcolm shared his business philosophy and highlighted what he sees as the divide between the Spectators which is his view of politicians, bankers and accountants, and Players: the traders “who get their hands dirty to create the wealth”. He also highlighted the key lesson he believes all businesses must focus on: evolve, adapt or die.
Reflecting on his life in business, Sir Malcolm highlighted some of what he believes are his key achievements, including being named Best Big Company to Work For in the UK.
Iceland becomes the first major retailer in the world to commit to eliminating plastic packaging from its own label products, and becoming the first UK supermarket to remove palm oil as an ingredient in all its own label food.
Sir Malcolm also spoke about Iceland’s commitment to Dementia research and to their pledge of £10 million to support the development of the new UK Dementia Research Institute.
It was clear to everybody listening that although Iceland and Sir Malcolm may be about to celebrate half a century as a driving force in British business, Sir Malcolm isn’t taking a back seat anytime soon.