Former Morrisons chairman publicly blasts CEO's strategy
06 June 2014
The supermarket price war seems to have set off an internal war at Morrisons after its former chairman, Sir Ken Morrison launched an extraordinary public attack on chief executive Dalton Philips, denouncing his strategy as 'bulls**t'.
The humiliation was all the more galling as it came in the presence of angry shareholders at the grocer's annual general meeting in Bradford today.
The supermarket chain took a £176-million hit by way of losses last year and only three months ago revealed a £ 1-billion price cut drive as it sought to arrest sales plummeting.
Sir Ken, founder William Morrison's son, had helped grow the business from a small, family business to one of the UK's 'big four' supermarkets over 50 years, before he stepping down as chairman in 2008.
The Evening Standard reported Morrison as saying, "When I left work and started working as a hobby, I chose to raise cattle. I have something like 1,000 bullocks and, having listened to your presentation, Dalton, you've got a lot more bullshit than me.
He said he personally thought the results were disastrous.
"I warned in 2009 and 2012 that changes being implemented by directors would seriously damage the business and I'm extremely sorry to admit that my comments, whilst unwelcome, were absolutely right and today we have seen the consequences."
International Business Times reported that Chris Blundell, Sir Ken's nephew, was supportive of his uncle and welcomed the news that current chairman Sir Ian Gibson would be stepping down from his post next year following a loss of £176-million in the fiscal year just gone.
"Things need to be done very quickly. We are losing our reputation. A reputation is everything in business and I think you've lost that to a great extent," said Blundell with proceedings getting tense at the annual meeting of shareholders.
Gibson announced that he would be stepping down just a few hours before the meeting as pressure mounted on the current board.
However, Gibson said he hoped to leave Morrisons in a healthy state, but said that the process would not be easy.