UWE Bristol award Honorary Degree to Bill Grimsey

Issue date: 11 July 2014


UWE Bristol awarded the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Business Administration to Bill Grimsey in recognition of his significant contribution to the retail sector.

The Honorary Degree was conferred at the Awards Ceremony of the Faculty of Business and Law on Monday 14 July 2014 at Bristol Cathedral.

Bill Grimsey began his retail career at the age of just 15-years old when he became a butcher's boy. His first managerial job was at Bishop's Food Stores, where he rose to become a director, before joining Tesco in 1986 in the new role of Customer Services Director.

In a varied and full retail career, Bill went on to be chief executive of store groups both in the UK and abroad in South Africa and Hong Kong and has earned a reputation as a turnaround specialist. After five years as the Managing Director of Park n Shop Hong Kong he gained particular attention for masterminding the recovery of DIY group Wickes as the new CEO, which had previously been at the centre of an accounting scandal that resulted in the suspension of its share price and the banks foreclosing.

Another of these recovery roles was at the Iceland Group where the banks stepped in to take control and support Bill the new CEO, amidst the discovery of a profits shortfall, the resignation of the auditors and the Chairman. Bill was four years at the helm of Iceland, which was renamed the Big Food Group, and was later successfully sold to the Icelandic investors Baugur Group. Most recently he worked with private equity backers heading the Focus DIY chain for three years and a further year as its Chairman.

In 2012 Bill published a book called “Sold Out” Who killed the High Street? He has a web site; www.vanishinghighstreet.com

Along with eight other associates Bill published The Grimsey Review: An alternative future for the High Street to all political parties at a Parliamentary Reception in September 2013. In January 2014 Bill agreed to join an advisory committee to the Labour Party on High Street Policy.

Bill did his studying the hard way at night school in his twenties after recognising that complementing practical knowledge and know-how with academic learning was the only way to fulfill his ambitions of becoming a CEO of a large corporation. He obtained an HNC in Business Studies from High Wycombe College now part of Brunel University and completed the intensive residential Advanced Management Programme (AMP) at Templeton College Oxford.

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