Gerald Ratner took over as CEO of the family jewellery chain in the mid 80s, becoming one of Britain’s best known businessmen. He transformed it from 130 stores with sales of £13m, to a public company with 2,500 stores and sales of over £1.2bn. By 1990, Ratner’s was the world’s largest jewellery retailer with profits in excess of £120m.
Gerald is a businessman whose fall from grace was one of the most spectacular ever seen in our times. That ‘gaffe’ that has been voted the worst mistake of all time forced him to leave the business. Ten years later he started again and he now speaks in a humorous and erudite way on his mistakes and what we all can learn from them. He is ideal for either an after dinner or conference speech.
In 2003 he launched a new venture, geraldonline.com. The specialist diamond retailer sells jewellery, watches and hallmarked gold and silver through a secure site. It has formed alliances with a number of partners including SB&T, an Indian based producer, Goldsmiths and Royal Brierly – the only UK manufacturer of traditional hand blown crystal. The online business is already the largest of its kind in Britain.
After clawing his way back to the top, Gerald talks with typical candor about the rollercoaster journey and the valuable lessons learned.
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Matthew Willetts MA is the Director of Comicus who has over 35 years experience in television, film, theatre, and comedy club/cabaret entertainment, working as a performer, screenwriter, producer and agent. He lectured at Southampton Solent University in Comedy, Screenwriting, Television, Theatre & Radio. Matthew can sometimes be seen and heard on TV & Radio and often quoted in the national press and media publications. As well as speaking regularly at festivals and industry conferences, he has been a judge at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and the Montreux Television Festival.
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