past events

The Early Bird Series - Ratner for breakfast
Start: 8.00 am
End: 11/02/2016
11.00 am
Cost: Free

Location: Boyes Turner, Abbots House, Abbey Street, Reading, Berkshire, RG1 3BD

Please note that this event has now finished.

One misplaced comment wiped £500m from his business!

The third guest speaker on 11 February 2016 will be Gerald Ratner one of the UK’s most high profile and successful businessmen.

Gerald took over Ratners, his family's jewellery business, and in fifteen years grew it from 130 stores into one that had 2,500 stores, 25,000 employees and annual sales of £1.2 billion. At the time it was the largest business of its type in the world.

His throw away comments at an IOD conference about the quality of Ratner’s products were seized on by the press. The widespread coverage that resulted led to customers deserting in droves and a drop of over £500 million in the value of the business. This in turn produced a series of events that ended up in Gerald’s departure and Ratners near collapse.

“We also do cut-glass sherry decanters complete with six glasses on a silver-plated tray that your butler can serve you drinks on, all for £4.95. People say, "How can you sell this for such a low price?", I say, "because it's total cr*p."”

He compounded this by going on to say that some of the earrings were "cheaper than an M&S prawn sandwich but probably wouldn't last as long."

The speech is still regarded by the corporate world as an example of the value of branding and image over quality and has led to the coining of the phrase "doing a Ratner".

Gerald has subsequently gone on to build one of Europe’s most successful on-line jewellery retailers. He has also built a highly successful business in the USA from scratch, taking it to over 1,000 shops and becoming one of the few UK retailers to succeed on the other side of the Atlantic.

He will be telling his side of the story - what actually happened and what he learned from his speech as well as his subsequent successes.

Immediately after the talk, we will be hosting an optional workshop with well known journalist and reporter Lawrence McGinty (ITV and Channel 4) on reputation management.

8.00-8.30am ... Buffet breakfast & networking

8.30-10.00am ... Gerald Ratner followed by Q&A

10.15-11.00am .... Optional workshop with Lawrence McGinty

About The Early Bird Series

In June 2015 we launched The Early Bird Series of thought provoking talks from well known business leaders who have successfully developed innovative ways to grow, target new markets and stand out from the crowd. It is designed to provide the opportunity for CEOs, MDs, FDs and other senior executives to discuss the challenges that they are facing and explore their options.

For more information please contact Claire Rason on 0118 959 7711 or [email protected].

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