Bunhill: On top
Sunday 13 February 1994
Thompson's job will be to restore the image of the group's Ernest Jones, H Samuel and Ratners shops in the wake of Gerald Ratner's unfortunate jokes. (For readers from another planet Ratner infamously disparaged one of his own products, a sherry decanter set, as 'total crap').
'For a marketing person I can't think of a better challenge,' she tells me. 'It's very sad that a comment like that can do as much damage as it did. It's the sort of thing the media won't let go. My job is to stop the rot.'
Thompson, 43, divorced with a 9 1/2 -year-old daughter and live-in housekeeper, is not your typical marketing smoothie. Born and raised in Batley, West Yorkshire, she only recently made it to the soft south. She has marketed petfood for the Co-op, wallpaper for ICI and wood varnish for Sterling Roncraft. She spent the early 1980s as a lecturer at Manchester Poly, simultaneously setting up an advertising agency, Thompson Maud Jones. She later sold out to her two partners. Before Woolies, she was MD of the British arm of Sandvik Saws & Tools.
She reckons being a woman in business is a positive advantage once you get to the top: 'People automatically assume you must be good to have got there,' she says, happily recalling a tool industry lunch at the Savoy - '299 men and me'.
- 2 Italian police 'reveal' what Jesus looked like as a young boy
- 3 General Election 2015: 14-year-old boy asks Nick Clegg – 'can you kill Katie Hopkins?'
- 4 University student in court for allegedly covering housemates' food in window cleaner and spit
- 5 Ryan Gosling posts tribute to 'Ryan Gosling Won't Eat His Cereal' creator Ryan McHenry
Italian police 'reveal' what Jesus looked like as a young boy
Who should I vote for? The Independent quiz matches best political party for undecided voters ahead of the general election
Mysterious 'X-Files' sounds heard miles above the Earth
Garland shooting: Isis claims attack on Prophet Mohamed cartoon contest in Texas as its first action on US soil
Met Gala 2015: Beyoncé manages to out-skimp Rihanna, Miley and Kim Kardashian combined with near-naked ensemble
In defence of liberal democracy
Over 50,000 families shipped out of London boroughs in the past three years due to welfare cuts and soaring rents
EU asylum policy is 'a direct threat to our civilisation', says Nigel Farage
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
General election live: SNP suspends two members for disrupting Labour rally
iJobs Money & Business
£20000 - £25000 per annum + Uncapped commission: SThree: Can you speak German,...
£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An exciting opportunity f...
£215 per day: Ashdown Group: Junior Project Manager (website, web application ...
£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software Engineer / Softw...