Sunday, 31 October 2010
The subject of today's boycott call is Diageo.
Diageo is a global alcoholic drinks company headquartered in London. It is the world's largest producer of spirits and a major producer of beer and wine. Its brands include Smirnoff (the world's largest-selling vodka), Johnnie Walker (the world's largest-selling whisky), José Cuervo (the world's largest-selling tequila), Baileys (the world's largest-selling liqueur) and Guinness (the world's largest-selling stout). It also owns 34 per cent of Moët Hennessy, which owns brands including Moët & Chandon, Veuve Clicquot and Hennessy. It sells its products in approximately 180 countries and has offices in 80 countries.
Diageo was formed in 1997 from the merger of Guinness plc and Grand Metropolitan plc.
In July 2009, Diageo announced that, after nearly 200 years of association with the town of Kilmarnock, they would be closing the Johnnie Walker blending and bottling plant as part of restructuring to the business. This would make 700 workers unemployed and caused outrage from press, local people and politicians. A campaign against this decision was launched by the local SNP MSP Willie Coffey and Labour MP Des Browne. A petition was drawn up against the Diageo plans, which also involves the closure of the historic Port Dundas Grain Distillery in Glasgow.
In February 2009, it was reported in the Guardian that the company had restructured itself so as to avoid paying tax in the U.K., despite much of its profits being generated in the U.K. Diageo is engaged in a tax scheme in the United States of America, commonly referred to as the "Rum Bailout". The National Puerto Rican Coalition plans to run a series of ads in New York City and Puerto Rico urging a boycott of Diageo-owned alcoholic drinks to protest the giant British-owned corporation’s controversial production move of its Captain Morgan rum from Puerto Rico to the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Diageo is the holding company for some of the most recognisable alcohol brands, including:
* Beer: Guinness, Tusker, Smithwick's, Red Stripe, Harp Lager, Kilkenny, Kaliber (non alcoholic)
* Scotch whisky: Johnnie Walker, Buchanan's, Cardhu, Justerini & Brooks (J&B), Bell's, Black & White, Caol Ila, Vat 69, Oban, Talisker, Lagavulin, Glen Ord, Glenkinchie, Dalwhinnie, Cragganmore, Singleton, Haig, Royal Lochnagar, Glen Elgin, Knockando
* Baijiu: Shui Jing Fang
* Vodka: Smirnoff (Smirnov in Russia), Cîroc, Silent Sam, Popov, Ketel One
* Gin: Gordon's, Tanqueray, Gilbey's, Booth's
* Rum: Captain Morgan, Bundaberg, Pampero, Myers'
* Bourbon: Bulleit
* Canadian whisky: Crown Royal, Seagram's
* Irish whiskey: Bushmills
* Tennessee whiskey: George Dickel
* Schnapps: Black Haus, Goldschläger, Rumple Minze
* Mixed drinks: Archers, Pimm's, TGI Friday's
* Liqueur: Baileys, Sheridans, Yukon Jack, Godiva's
* Wines: Sterling Vineyards, Piat d'Or, Barton & Guestier, Beaulieu Vineyard, Blossom Hill, Canoe Ridge Vineyard, Acacia, Moon Mountain, Dynamite, Chalone, Provenance Vineyards, Hewitt Vineyard, and Rosenblum.
Paul Walsh was appointed CEO of Diageo plc in September 2000, having been appointed a Director in December 1997. He attended the Royton and Crompton School. He initially wanted to become an RAF pilot but failed the medical due to colour blindness. He studied Accounting and Economics at Manchester Polytechnic. After leaving university, he spent six years with the Co-op as an accountant. In 1982, he joined the brewers Watney, Mann and Truman as a Financial Planning and Accounts Manager. This company was owned by Grand Metropolitan. In 1986 he became Finance Director of the Brewing Division. In 1987 he moved to America when he became CEO of Pillsbury, and joined the GrandMet board of directors in 1995, which became Diageo in December 1997.
He is Chairman of the Scottish Whisky Association despite neither being Scottish nor living in Scotland. He has a £4m house on a 35-acre (140,000 m2) country estate in West Sussex, and earns around £4m a year. He also has a 2,400-acre (9.7 km2) estate in South Africa. To put the size of that estate in context, were he to declare independence, his new country would be larger than Gibraltar, Monaco and the Vatican City combined.
In February 2010 Paul Walsh the CEO of Diageo issued a threat to take Diageo out of the UK altogether if his demand for lower personal and corporate taxation were not met.
"We enjoy operating out of London; it's got many advantages. However, if the UK, either from a corporate perspective or a personal tax perspective, becomes uncompetitive, we will be forced to look at alternatives," said Walsh in a television interview.
"We are a global business, we operate in 180 countries around the world. Our location here in London should not be taken for granted," he added – just weeks after speculation that Diageo was being courted by low-tax Switzerland to move its head office there.
On 18th October, Paul Walsh signed an open letter calling on the Chancellor to continue the coalition government's plans to reduce the public finance deficit in one term, plans which included swingeing cuts on the poorest members of society and which risk pushing this country into a double-dip recession, the likes of which has not been seen since the last time the tories took power and tanked the economy in the early 80's.
For this reason Paul Walsh is considered a fully signed up member of the Big Business Society and we urge people to boycott all Diageo brands.
If you like a Guinness, you should enjoy a Murphy's but for other drinks please suggest suitable alternatives.
Saturday, 30 October 2010
Boycott Britvic and Moneysupermarket.com, Durex, Scholl, Robinsons, Tango, J2O, Pepsi, 7Up, R. Whites Lemonade
Britvic plc is a British producer of soft drinks. They are the number two soft drinks producer (by volume and retail sales value) in the UK. The Company owns a number of leading brands in the UK including Britvic itself, R. White's Lemonade, Tango, Robinson's and J2O - as well as being the licensed bottler for PepsiCo products within the UK. In 2008 Britvic launched Gatorade in the UK, after securing the rights to do so from PepsiCo. In May of 2010, Britvic launched a UK exclusive drink called Mountain Dew Energy. It mostly tastes the same as its American counterpart, but has higher contents of caffeine and real sugar. The Company owns a number of leading brands in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, including, Ballygowan water, Britvic, Cidona, MiWadi, and Energise Sport as well as the rights to Pepsi and 7 Up brands in the territory through its bottling agreements with PepsiCo.
Current Brands includes 7 UP franchised from PepsiCo, Amé, J2O, Mountain Dew Energy franchised from PepsiCo, Drench, Gatorade franchised from PepsiCo, Robinsons, Pennine Spring, Pepsi franchised from PepsiCo, Tango, R. White's Lemonade, Purdey's, Red Devil Energy Drink, Shandy Bass, Britvic 55, Really Wild Drinks Company (Only available in Schools) and Idris.
Moneysupermarket.com Group PLC is a British price comparison website-based business specialising in financial services. The website enables consumers to compare prices on a range of products, including mortgages, credit cards and loans. The business was established in 1993 by Simon Nixon (a student at Nottingham University) and Duncan Cameron as a provider of off-line mortgage information to Independent Financial Advisors under the name Mortgage 2000. Since late 2009, comedian Omid Djalili has appeared in adverts for moneysupermarket.com.
SL International is the rapidly growing international consumer healthcare group whose major brands Durex and Scholl are sold in over 50 countries with manufacturing facilities primarily in India, China and Thailand. Gerald is also Chairman of Moneysupermarket.com, a price comparison website which floated in July 2007.
Gerald Corbett is Chairman of Moneysupermarket.com, SSL International plc and Britvic plc.
After studying history at Cambridge University, where he was a foundation scholar, he attended London and Harvard business schools. He joined Boston Consulting Group, which advises on corporate strategy, in the mid-1970s. In 1982 he joined electrical retailer Dixons, where he became group Financial Controller and Corporate Finance Director. Since then, he has been a director of 10 public companies and Chairman of four - including Woolworths and Britvic. He was Chief Executive of Railtrack from 1997 to 2006.
In 1993, he became Group Finance Director of Grand Metropolitan, the food and drink giant. In February 1996 in The Mail on Sunday, Patience Wheatcroft identified Corbett as one of business' "high powered hot shots" who would lead British business into the new millennium. When "Grand Met" merged with Guinness to form Diageo, he lost his job to his counterpart at Guinness. Good call Patience.
We'll come back to Diageo in a later post. The draft Diageo posting is even more confusing than this one.
In March 2001, he was at the helm of Woolworths, appointed to oversee the demerger of Woolworths Group from Kingfisher. Once this was completed in August 2001, he remained on the board as Chairman. Woolworths have since gone out of business and Kingfisher are now subject to this boycott.
He is Chairman of the Royal National Institute of the Deaf, the UK's largest Charity representing the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. We are NOT calling on people to boycott the RNID, that would be stupid.
He is also a Non Executive Director of the investment bank and stock broking business, Numis Securities. He is the High Sheriff of Hertfordshire for 2010/11 and is a member of the council of the High Sheriffs Association.
Described by David Freud in his book "Freud in the City" as "immensely approachable, a short and jovial figure, full of impromptu quips relayed to the accompaniment of short, barks of laughter".
On 18th October, Gerald Corbett signed an open letter calling on the Chancellor to continue the coalition government's plans to reduce the public finance deficit in one term, plans which included swingeing cuts on the poorest members of society and which risk pushing this country into a double-dip recession, the likes of which has not been seen since the last time the tories took power and tanked the economy in the early 80's.
For this reason Gerald Corbett is considered a fully signed up member of the Big Business Society and we urge people to boycott Moneysupermarket.com, SSL International plc and Britvic plc.
There are other fizzy drinks. There's always confused.com, mates condoms, and I'm sure Lloyds Pharmacy can recommend something for your feet. Other suggestions welcomed.
Update on Moneysupermarket.com as of 20th June 2011.
News has reached me that Moneysupermarket.com will be pausing all online affiliate activity as of Monday 27th June 2011. The official line is that their current affiliate program is being reviewed with an aim to upgrade the channel and improve security measures to minimize invalid transactions. However the statement also says that affiliates will be notified when the program is ready to be reactivated, which implies of course that is deactivating, perhaps temporarily, perhaps not. Sensible affiliates will switch to alternative channels in the meantime and are unlikely to switch back.
Affiliate marketing is key for any online business like Moneysupermarket.com. It's the way they generate traffic, outsource their pre-sales function and gain a good position on search engine return pages when someone types 'price comparison' into Google.
Turning this off could be the beginning of the end for them.
Friday, 29 October 2010
Ocado deliver Waitrose Goods. Waitrose is a subsiduary of John Lewis.
In September 2006 Michael Grade became non-executive chairman of Ocado, shortly after Goldman Sachs were appointed as financial advisors. This led to perennial speculation that the business would seek a listing on the stock market. In July 2009 Ocado confirmed it was planning a stock market flotation. In November 2008 the John Lewis Partnership transferred its shareholding of 29% into its staff pension fund. It also agreed a five year supply deal with the business, replacing its previous one year rolling deal. This deal was replaced in May 2010 with a 10 year branding and supply agreement. Procter & Gamble took a 1% stake in the company the same year.
Ocado operates in England's South East, South Coast, Midlands, North West and most of Yorkshire.
The online grocer announced total yearly sales up 25% to £427 million and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization of just £9 million.
With the flotation of the company widely regarded as a shambles Ocado shares fell to 146p, a sizeable discount on its 180p July flotation price, which had been slashed from a hoped for 200-275p range in order to get investors to sign up. Analysts remain divided over the merits of the loss-making business which picks customers' orders from a hi-tech warehouse in Hatfield.
As at March this year Ocado had not made a penny in pre-tax profit. Still, the company has got one million-plus customers, including at least half of all London home grocery shopping. Sceptics in the City doubt that Ocado can ever make money, given high delivery costs, and certainly not on orders of less than £100. Of all the companies represented in the shameful list of 35 Chairmen and CEO's this is the one we can shut down.
Tim Steiner is the Chief Executive Officer of Ocado, and a founding director.
Prior to Ocado, Tim spent eight years as a banker at Goldman Sachs. During his time there, he was based in London, Hong Kong and New York in the Fixed Income division. As CEO, Tim oversees all aspects of the business.
Tim Steiner, 39, went to Haberdashers' Aske School in Elstree before reading economics, finance and accountancy at Manchester University. He then worked in fixed income for Goldman Sachs for eight years, meeting Jason Gissing, who did a degree at Worcester College, Oxford, where he was famously in the same Bullingdon Club photograph as Chancellor George Osborne (below).
On 18th October, Tim Steiner signed an open letter calling on the Chancellor, his business partner's old drinking buddy, to continue the coalition government's plans to reduce the public finance deficit in one term, plans which included swingeing cuts on the poorest members of society and which risk pushing this country into a double-dip recession, the likes of which has not been seen since the last time the tories took power and tanked the economy in the early 80's.
For this reason Tim is considered a fully signed up member of the Big Business Society and we urge people to boycott Ocado.
You can get everything you need from the Co-op and they don't charge for deliveries.
Thursday, 28 October 2010
The Group's operations are mainly carried out under the Boots and Alliance Healthcare brands. Boots UK is the UK's leading pharmacy-led health and beauty retailer. Alliance Boots is also the largest pharmaceutical wholesaler in the UK through its Alliance Healthcare (Distribution) Ltd business.
Alliance Boots has its registered office in Zug, Switzerland, so people like me who are of an age to associate Boots with the fair city of Nottingham are sadly out of date.
Boots operate more than 3,000 retail promises in UK.
Stefano Pessina was appointed Executive Chairman of Alliance Boots in July 2007 having previously been its Executive Deputy Chairman. Prior to the merger of Alliance UniChem and Boots Group he was Executive Deputy Chairman of Alliance UniChem, before that having been its Chief Executive for three years up until December 2004. Stefano was appointed to the Alliance UniChem board in 1997 when UniChem merged with Alliance Santé, the Franco-Italian pharmaceutical wholesale group which he established in Italy in 1977. He is an engineer by profession.
Pessina is unknown to the public in his native Italy, having long since left to live in the tax haven of Monaco.
On 18th October, despite it having nothing whatsoever to do with an Italian who lives in Monaco, Stefano Pessina signed an open letter calling on the Chancellor to continue the coalition government's plans to reduce the public finance deficit in one term, plans which included swingeing cuts on the poorest members of society and which risk pushing this country into a double-dip recession, the likes of which has not been seen since the last time the tories took power and tanked the economy in the early 80's.
For this reason Stefano is considered a fully signed up member of the Big Business Society and we urge people to boycott Alliance Boots, through it Boots The Chemist chain of pharmacies.
You can get everything you need from a Lloyds Pharmacy or a pharmacy in one of the larger supermarkets.
Wednesday, 27 October 2010
In October 1991 the Harvey Nichols group was acquired from the Burton Group by Dickson Concepts, an international retailer and distributor of branded luxury goods based in Hong Kong and listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
In April 1996, Harvey Nichols obtained a full listing on the London Stock Exchange and for the subsequent period of almost 7 years stayed as a listed company.
February 2003 saw the return of Harvey Nichols to private ownership and Harvey Nichols Group Limited is now owned by the Hong Kong-based businessman Dr. Dickson Poon, the ex-husband of Michelle Yeoh, whose retail businesses extend to North America, Europe, Japan, China and South East Asia. Poon is the executive chairman of his Hong Kong listed vehicle Dickson Concepts (DCIL), which owns companies including Harvey Nichols and S. T. Dupont. Through trusts, he controls 40.13% of the voting capital of DCIL as at 31 March 2008.
Joseph Wan is a Chartered Accountant and Chartered Arbitrator. He became Chief Executive of Harvey Nichols in August 1992, having previously been the group finance director of Dickson Concepts for five years. Prior to that he spent nine years working for KPMG in Hong Kong and London. He is also a Fellow of the Institute of Directors and The Royal Society of Arts. He is currently the non-executive chairman of S.T. Dupont SA, which is listed on the Paris Bourse, a fellow subsidiary of Harvey Nichols.
During the credit crunch he famously changed the Harvey Nichols advertising strapline to 'and now with shorter queues' trying to make fun of the fact fewer people had disposable income.
In 2008 Wan spoke out against UK government proposals to crack down on non-doms. He told The Sunday Times that if the crackdown on wealthy immigrants went much further he would flee the UK when he retires at 60. “Depending on how much further things go – reluctantly I would leave on retirement,” he said.
Wan, then 53, said several of his friends were already making preparations to leave. Hong Kong-born Wan admits he is a non-dom himself, but claimed he pays more than £100,000 a year in British taxes. He said that wealthy overseas people created jobs and spent money in Britain, an important stimulant to the economy.
Wan’s comments came as a survey by Grant Thornton, the accountant, found 42% of South Asian high-net-worth individuals considered as non-doms were preparing to leave the UK.
Wan continues to reside in the UK.
On 18th October Joseph Wan signed an open letter calling on the Chancellor to continue the coalition government's plans to reduce the public finance deficit in one term, plans which included swingeing cuts on the poorest members of society and which risk pushing this country into a double-dip recession, the likes of which has not been seen since the last time the tories took power and tanked the economy in the early 80's.
For this reason Joseph is considered a fully signed up member of the Big Business Society and we urge people to boycott Harvey Nichols.
Never having shopped there I do not know a suitable alternative, so please suggest some if you post comments.
Tuesday, 26 October 2010
Asda became a subsidiary of the American retail giant Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, in 1999, and is the second largest chain in the UK after Tesco, having overtaken Sainsbury's in 2003. In 2010, 17% of UK grocery shoppers used Asda for their main shop, with 'special offers' the most cited reason for its popularity. From 1991 until 2000, Archie Norman was Chief Executive and then Chairman of Asda. From 1997 to 2005 he was also the Conservative MP for Tunbridge Wells and a shadow front bench spokesperson. He is now the Chairman of ITV.
Andrew James Bond, part-time Chairman, began at Asda as a marketing manager for Archie Norman, when aged 29 in April 1994 after completing as MBA. He had previously worked in the gas industry. He has an engineering degree from Salford University.
He was Chief Executive of ASDA from 2005 until earlier this when he surprised the business world by resigning that post to take up the Chairmanship. He reputedly did not wish to have to move his young family to Bentonville, Arkansas, the home of Wal-Mart. He preferred to raise them in Harrogate, so he's not all bad.
On 18th October Andy Bond signed an open letter calling on the Chancellor to continue the coalition government's plans to reduce the public finance deficit in one term, plans which included swingeing cuts on the poorest members of society and which risk pushing this country into a double-dip recession, the likes of which has not been seen since the last time the tories took power and tanked the economy in the early 80's.
For this reason Andy is considered a fully signed up member of the Big Business Society and we urge people to boycott ASDA.
There are other supermarkets, like the Co-op, or Sainsbury, or some of the smaller ones that are trying to compete with the big boys you can support. I'd also like to ask that alternatives are suggested in the comments to this post.
Monday, 25 October 2010
Marks & Spencer may have had humble origins on a market stall in Leeds but they have changed beyond all recognition since then. Marks & Spencer is the largest clothing retailer in the United Kingdom, as well as being a food retailer, and as of 2008, the 43rd largest retailer in the world. M&S have over 600 stores throughout the United Kingdom and over 300 stores in over 40 other countries.
Since Sunday opening became legal the trip to M&S has replaced organised religion in some of our more well-heeled suburbs.
Sir Stuart Rose is the Chairman of M&S and an experienced boardroom player. He joined M&S as a trainee manager in 1972 and stayed there until 1989. He returned to M&S in 2004 as Chief Executive. During his interval away he had been Chief Executive of Burtons, Argos, Booker and Arcadia Group. This period seems to have been dominated by mergers and acquisitions. Reputedly the deal Rose made when he sold Arcadia netted a cool £25M for him personally. He was knighted in 2008 for services to retailing. He plans to step down from M&S in 2011.
On 18th October Sir Stuart Rose signed an open letter calling on the Chancellor to continue the coalition government's plans to reduce the public finance deficit in one term, plans which included swingeing cuts on the poorest members of society and which risk pushing this country into a double-dip recession, the likes of which has not been seen since the last time the tories took power and tanked the economy in the early 80's.
For this reason Sir Stuart is considered a fully signed up member of the Big Business Society and we urge people to boycott Marks & Spencer.
Suggesting alternatives for Marks & Spencer is likely to spark a negative response from their incredibly loyal customers but there are other supermarkers and clothes shops that are just as good and which do not support actions which could throw this country into recession. While the credit crunch was a world wide problem, remember what we are facing is not just a recession, this is a British-made, corporate promoted coalition gamble, with added unemployment and reduced hope for the future, double-dip recession.
UPDATE: There is a comment posted below from 'Anonymous' which calls attention to the leasing of a Marks & Spencer owned property to the 'Hooters' restaurant chain.
This has been confirmed by the Daily Telegraph and the restaurant is in Bristol. Hooters is not a well known brand in the UK but in the US it is known mainly for the skimpy outfits worn by its all-female serving staff, referred to 'Hooters Girls'. After a quick image search it is clear that the clothing may be suitable for Southern California in summer, but is not very practical for the West Country in December. Practicality is of course the least of Hooters concerns.
Quite what M&S's female clientelle would make of such a business relationship should they be aware of it I dread to imagine.
Sunday, 24 October 2010
In Europe and America they are known as The Phone House. In 2003 they launched the TalkTalk brand providing telephony and broadband services. Initially a subsiduary of The Carphone Warehouse, TalkTalk became its own company in March 2010.
Charles Dunstone is the Chairman and co-founder of both The Carphone Warehouse and TalkTalk. He reputedly started selling phones out of a flat in Marylebone. It is fair to say that he spotted the mobile phone market earlier than anyone else and was one of the business success stories of the 80's and 90's. As well as the positions he holds in Carphone Warehouse and TalkTalk Charles is also a non-executive director of HBOS and The Daily Mail General Trust. In the Sunday Times Rich List 2006 he was listed in 64th place, with an estimated fortune of $1.66 billion.
To his credit he actively supports the re-habilitation of offenders, employing an ex-con by the name of Ernest Saunders as a business consultant for Carphone Warehouse prior to flotation.
On 18th October Charles Dunstone signed an open letter calling on the Chancellor to continue the coalition government's plans to reduce the public finance deficit in one term, plans which included swingeing cuts on the poorest members of society and which risk pushing this country into a double-dip recession, the likes of which has not been seen since the last time the tories took power and tanked the economy in the early 80's.
For this reason Charles is considered a fully signed up member of the Big Business Society and we urge people to boycott Carphone Warehouse and TalkTalk.
Rather than provide a list of alternative mobile phone shops or mobile phone and broadband network providers I'd like to ask that alternatives are suggested in the comments to this post. This is not a one-way street, please provide your ideas and input.
Saturday, 23 October 2010
I've never used Twitter before, which I know makes me something of a relic, but thought it would offer the easiest way for people to follow this campaign and spread the word to friends.
The Twitter account is @boycottbgbizsoc and I'm sure anyone who has read this far knows better than I do how to set themselves up as 'followers'.
Hope to Tweet you soon.
The group's brands operate through three distinct channels to market; UK stores, Direct (being the in-home and in-store internet-based businesses and catalogue mail order), and International, under which the group franchises (or participates in joint venture) operations delivering the Mothercare and Early Learning Centre brand retail operations in overseas markets.
Mothercare is one of the most familiar names in UK retailing, and is probably the first store that comes to mind when thinking of the needs of pregnant women, babies and children up to the age of 10. There is a lot of overlap with ELC in the post-natal market and so their merger and co-location of stores makes sense from a business perspective. As well as their strong UK presence the Group own 450 Mothercare and 150 Early Learning Centre stores abroad. This is Big Business.
I hope the Mumsnet people follow up this boycott option.
Ben Gordon is their Chief Executive. Appointed in December 2002. Formerly Senior Vice President and Managing Director, Disney Store, Europe and Asia Pacific. Has also held senior management positions with the WHSmith Group in Europe and the USA and L'Oreal S.A., Paris. Non-Executive Director of Britvic plc. (We'll come back to Britvic in another post.)
On 18th October Ben Gordon signed an open letter calling on the Chancellor to continue the coalition government's plans to reduce the public finance deficit in one term, plans which included swingeing cuts on the poorest members of society and which risk pushing this country into a double-dip recession, the likes of which has not been seen since, well since the last time the tories took power and tanked economy in the early 80's.
For this reason Ben is considered a fully signed up member of the Big Business Society and we urge people to boycott Mothercare and the Early Learning Centre. Despite their ubiquitous presence on the High Street Mothercare and ELC are far from the only brands address the parent-to-be and younger child market. We would urge consumers to look at Baby Planet, Bras4Mums, Kiddicare.com and kiddies-kingdom.com for example. Why should we boycott Ben's businesses? Because, as an ex senior manager at L'Oreal, he's worth it (sorry couldn't resist that).
In 2005 Mel Rowson starting boycotting B&Q after they slapped an £85 parking ticket on his car.
This is not the only time B&Q have sought to enhance their income by fining motorists. Graham Wilson received a £75 parking ticket for parking in the B&Q car park in Dewsbury on a sunday morning, even though he left before the store opened.
That is not the worst, though. In 2005 B&Q had 72 year old Thomas Radcliffe arrested by the police because he had taken an old plug in with him to ensure he purchased a new one that was the correct size ansd they accused him of stealing it, even though they had to later admit that their stores did not stock that model of plug.
I'm beginning to think we should have been boycotting B&Q for years.
The idea is also being discussed on Mumsnet.
If you are a member of Mumsnet please contribute to the discussion and help convince their visitors of the worth of this cause.
Friday, 22 October 2010
Simon Wolfson is their Chief Executive. Sorry, maybe I should be more polite and refer to Simon by his title, Baron Wolfson of Aspley Guise, of Aspley Guise in the County of Bedfordshire. That's right our Simon, as well as being a successful shopkeeper also has time to sit in the unelected House of Lords. He's a Conservative Peer, don't you know. He was given his life peerage a month after the General Election of 2010. He had ably co-chaired the Conservative Party's Economic Competitiveness Policy Review and prior to that, with a good eye for backing a winner, he had donated to David Cameron's leadership campaign in 2005.
It would wrong however to say that Simon owes his place in the legislature to his contacts and money or that his donation to Cameron played any part whatsoever in any way, absolutely not. no. I'm sure he's a really decent bloke, as that Harry Enfield character used to say.
Simon, sorry Baron Wolfson, is familar with unelected and unqualified appointments. You see his dad, David, also a Conservative life peer, this time Baron Wolfson of Sunningdale, was Chairman of Next from 1990 to 1998 and it was during this time that Simon started at Next, in 1991, as a sales consultant in the Kensington Branch (well it wasn't likely to be the one in Scunthorpe or Bethnal Green was it?). By 1997 he was on the board of Next, a stunning career progression which I'm sure is available to all of their sales staff, and he was made Chief Executive in 2001, at the ripe old age of 33.
A lot of this information is available on his wiki page (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simon_Wolfson) but my favourite bit is where it says that 'Wolfson is known to be publicity-shy'. Oh dear, because on 18th October Simon Wolfson signed an open letter calling on the Chancellor to continue the coalition government's plans to reduce the public finance deficit in one term, plans which included swingeing cuts on the poorest members of society and which risk pushing this country into a double-dip recession, the likes of which has not been seen since, well since the last time the tories took power and tanked economy in the early 80's.
For this reason Simon is considered a fully signed up member of the Big Business Society and we urge people to boycott Next, Lipsy and Ventura. The larger Co-ops stock clothes and there are a lot of alternatives in the rag trade for the savvy shopper.
At the time of writing this Next is leading in our Poll of which companies people to this site have pledged to boycott.
Update 29th October 2011
Business Week reported on 5th October here that Ian received a total of £1,757,000 in pay, bonuses and stock options from Next in the last year.
This will allow people who wish to support the boycott to register anonymously without having to become 'followers' although the more followers the better. Let's see how many boycott promises we can get, and also who our favourite boycottee turns out to be. Maybe favourite isn't the right word.
Thursday, 21 October 2010
Ian Cheshire was appointed to the Board of Kingfisher in June 2000 and as Group Chief Executive in January 2008. He was previously Chief Executive, B&Q UK from June 2005. He was appointed Chief Executive International and Development in September 2002, Chief Executive of e-Kingfisher in May 2000 and was Group Director of Strategy & Development. Before joining Kingfisher he worked for a number of retail businesses including Sears plc where he was Group Commercial Director. He is also a member of the Corporate Leaders Group on Climate Change and a Member of the Employers’ Forum on Disability President’s Group.
He opposed the proposed expansion of Heathrow Airport, which is to his credit.
However on 18th October Ian Cheshire signed an open letter calling on the Chancellor to continue the coalition government's plans to reduce the public finance deficit in one term, plans which included swingeing cuts on the poorest members of society and which risk pushing this country into a double-dip recession, the likes of which has not been seen since, well since the last time the tories took power and tanked economy in the early 80's. It's a bit like trying to pay off your mortgage by not feeding your children, it can only make sense to an accountant.
For this reason Ian is considered a fully signed up member of the Big Business Society and we urge people to boycott his business Kingfisher PLC which trades as B&Q and Screwfix. It's not like you can't get anything they stock from HomeBase or a decent local hardware store or builders' merchants.
Update 28th October 2011
Business Week reported on 5th October here that Ian received a total of £1,972,100 in pay, bonuses and stock options from Kingfisher in the last year.
Ian has added another string to his bow since the original post. He was appointed to the Board of the Department of Work and Pensions as a non-Executive Director by Iain Duncan Smith. I'm sure the staff there feel really motivated knowing that one of their directors wanted them to be sacked just so he could line his pockets even more luxuriously.
David Cameron's big idea is called 'The Big Society' and apparently he's really keen on it. He tried to explain it to the Conservative Party during their Conference and they were sufficiently envigorated by the concept that most managed to stay awake.
So, very few people actually know what it means in practice, but it sounds to me like public services being handed over to philanthopic business people. This breed of business person was declared extinct in the 1890's but it seems no one has told Cameron.
When details of Gideon Osborne's post-election 'Comprehensive Spending Review' were leaked in advance there were concerns raised by the usual suspects. The result was that 35 self-appointed business people decided to intervene in what we laughably refer to as our democracy to ensure that the interests of business were placed before those of the peoples of these islands. It was clear from that moment that The Big Society was really for the benefit of those who control the Conservative Party's purse strings, hence the parody name of The Big Business Society.
Now, no one, at least no one here, is going to deny these business people the right to voice their political opinions and to say which government policies they support, collectively or individually, or say which party they support. However actions have consequences, and their actions mean that supporters of the boycott will wish to take their trade elsewhere.
In short, you can be a coalition supporting business fat cat who stores his money in an offshore tax haven if you like but don't expect me to contribute to your tax avoided wealth.
The current idea I'm working to (subject to the views of followers and contributors to this blog) is that we'll publish details of the 35 company directors one at a time, their businesses, brands, products etc so that people know where not to shop this Christmas. We'll also list alternative, politics free suppliers of the same type of goods, because we are not asking people to go without, just change where they shop.
Boycotts have long history and some have been successful. For example, in the early 80s Barclays Bank was the number 1 bank for new student accounts in the UK. Then the NUS launched a boycott campaign as Barclays were involved with the then apartheid regime in South Africa. By the time Nelson Mandela was released Barclays were bottom of the big four High Street banks in terms of student accounts. As people tend to stay with a bank for life they are probably still losing custom because of links they severed a long time ago.
It's time to take our country back.
Here is the text of the Offending letter that the CBI 35 signed.
This text is taken from the Daily Telegraph, the Conservative Party's in-house rag.
SIR – It has been suggested that the deficit reduction programme set out by George Osborne in his emergency Budget should be watered down and spread over more than one parliament. We believe that this would be a mistake.
Addressing the debt problem in a decisive way will improve business and consumer confidence. Reducing the deficit more slowly would mean additional borrowing every year, higher national debt, and therefore higher spending on interest payments.
The cost of delay would result in almost £100 billion of additional national debt by the end of this parliament alone. In the end, the result would be deeper cuts, or further tax rises, in order to pay for the extra debt interest.
The cost of delay could be even greater than this. As recent events in some European countries have demonstrated, if the markets lose faith in Britain, interest rates will rise for all of us.
There is no reason to think that the pace of consolidation envisaged in the Budget will undermine the recovery.
The private sector should be more than capable of generating additional jobs to replace those lost in the public sector, and the redeployment of people to more productive activities will improve economic performance, so generating more employment opportunities.
So, each writing in our personal capacity, we would encourage George Osborne and the Government to press ahead with his plans to reduce the deficit.
In the long run it will deliver a healthier and more stable economy.
While these 'business leaders' sit confortably in their boardrooms the lives of millions of working people are being ruined. Let us make the Conservatives' claim that 'we are all in this together' come true. Let's share our pain with those supporting those who cause it by boycotting their stores and products.
This week the following people issued a statement (copy to follow) supporting the British Government's plans to institute widespread cuts in public services and state benefits.
Will Adderley, CEO, Dunelm Group
Robert Bensoussan, Chairman, L.K. Bennett
Andy Bond, Chairman, Asda
Ian Cheshire, Chief Executive, Kingfisher
Gerald Corbett, Chairman, SSL International, moneysupermarket.com, Britvic
Peter Cullum, Executive Chairman, Towergate
Tej Dhillon, Chairman and CEO, Dhillon Group
Philip Dilley, Chairman, Arup
Charles Dunstone, Chairman, Carphone Warehouse Group, TalkTalk Telecom Group
Warren East, CEO, ARM Holdings
Gordon Frazer, Managing Director, Microsoft UK
Sir Christopher Gent, Non-Executive Chairman, GlaxoSmithKline
Ben Gordon, Chief Executive, Mothercare
Anthony Habgood, Chairman, Whitbread, Chairman, Reed Elsevier
Aidan Heavey, Chief Executive, Tullow Oil
Neil Johnson, Chairman, UMECO
Nick Leslau, Chairman, Prestbury Group
Ian Livingston, CEO, BT Group
Ruby McGregor-Smith, CEO, MITIE Group
Rick Medlock, CFO, Inmarsat; Non-Executive Director lovefilms.com, The Betting Group
John Nelson, Chairman, Hammerson
Stefano Pessina, Executive Chairman, Alliance Boots
Nick Prest, Chairman, AVEVA
Nick Robertson, CEO, ASOS
Sir Stuart Rose, Chairman, Marks & Spencer
Tim Steiner, CEO, Ocado
Andrew Sukawaty, Chairman and CEO, Inmarsat
Michael Turner, Executive Chairman, Fuller, Smith and Turner
Moni Varma, Chairman, Veetee
Paul Walker, Chief Executive, Sage
Paul Walsh, Chief Executive, Diageo
Robert Walters, CEO, Robert Walters
Joseph Wan, Chief Executive, Harvey Nichols
Bob Wigley, Chairman, Expansys, Stonehaven Associates, Yell Group
Simon Wolfson, Chief Executive, Next
The reponse of this blog is to organise a boycott of these businesses so that they can feel the cuts they support.
This has been launched quickly. More details will come later