Gem trade can't hold a candle to waxing lyrical

People & Business

Iain McGourty, managing director of Ernest Jones, Signet's more upmarket jewellery chain, is quitting to run Wax Lyrical, a fast growing group of candle shops.

Mr McGourty is leading a management buy-in of Wax Lyrical and will leave Signet in the new year to become managing director. He is acquiring 10 per cent of the shares while founders Marjorie Bannister and Mark Chessel will retain a 70 per cent stake.

Founded in 1990 Wax Lyrical now has 32 shops and last year made pounds 1m profits on sales of pounds 11m. But Mr McGourty reckons he can double the size of the business.

He admits he scarcely knows his beeswax from his candelabra but is not afraid to learn. "I'll be starting my learning curve immediately."

Mr McGourty, 49, has been keen to run his own show for some time. A former managing director of Country Casuals and Signet's Salisbury's luggage chain he put together a management buyout team team to buy Salisbury's last year but was beaten to it by Stephen Hinchliffe. "I've always wanted to be involved in an equity transaction and I feel Wax Lyrical is very much a retailer for the Nineties."

Ken Clarke 1: Is the strain of the single currency debate and all those off-the-record lunches starting to tell on our Chancellor? It is if a remark made to his press secretary on Monday is anything to go by.

"I've had enough of journalists," he said to Jill Rutter, the chief press secretary to the Treasury. "I don't want to see any any more."

Unfortunately for Mr Clarke, Ms Rutter had to inform him that he was due to attend a Treasury press reception that very evening where literally hundreds of hacks were due to invade his personal space.

Perhaps a glass or two of wine helped but the Chancellor managed to disguise his feelings about his guests and, I am told, was in rather good spirits all evening. He was one of the last to leave.

Ken Clarke 2: Has canny Ken done a Tony Blair and started to alter his hairstyle? It's ever so subtle but economics observers who usually concentrate on the PSBR and long-term interest rates say there are definite signs of a make-over in the Barnet department.

This sparked flat denials from the Treasury, aghast that a man who resolutely sticks to wearing Hush Puppies with pin-striped suits, should be accused of such vanity. "He is not interested in altering his personal appearance. He's never felt the need to do that. It was probably just a case of a little too long between haircuts."

Neville Buch, the former chairman of Blenheim Exhibitions who made pounds 24m from the group's sale to United News & Media a couple of months back, has wasted no time returning to the fray. He has been appointed non-executive director of BBB Design Group, which has a USM quote. He will move up to non-executive chairman in February when founder Philip O'Donnell splits the chairman and chief executive roles.

Mr Buch yesterday acquired a near-6 per cent stake in BBB and will push that to nearly 30 per cent next week when he buys shares from Mr O'Donnell.

The pair know each other well. Blenheim and BBB were almost merged eight years ago and Mr Buch's Holland Park pad is around the corner from BBB's Bayswater head office.

"I've known Neville ever since I took BBB public 10 years ago. He's been very successful and I'm sure his talents will help us."

Dairy group Unigate will receive some political assistance. It has appointed John MacGregor, the former secretary of state for transport, as a non- executive director.

However, it is Mr MacGregor's previous position as minister for agriculture, fisheries and foods which is likely to prove more useful. Unigate's chief executive Ross Buckland has been banging on about Milk Marque's pricing policies for ages. Mr MacGregor's lobbying skills will no doubt come in handy.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

SThree: HR Benefits Manager

£40000 - £50000 per annum + pro rata: SThree: SThree Group have been well esta...

Recruitment Genius: Office Manager / Financial Services

£30000 - £37000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Established in 1999, a highly r...

Jemma Gent: Year End Accountant

£250-£300 Day Rate: Jemma Gent: Are you a qualified accountant with strong exp...

Jemma Gent: Management Accountant

£230 - £260 Day Rate: Jemma Gent: Do you want to stamp your footprint in histo...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower