Kalms in farewell swipe at the City

Sir Stanley Kalms made his final farewell as chairman of Dixons at the electrical group's annual shareholders' meeting yesterday, though his departure was upstaged by a glittering party given in his honour the night before.

At a champagne celebration at Claridge's, in London, Sir Stanley used his valedictory speech to take a swipe at the City and the media. He even had a dig at his boardroom colleagues for "promoting" him to honorary president.

He ribbed David Mayhew, the chairman of Dixons' long-term stockbrokers Cazenove, about exorbitant City fees. He said: "My friend David Mayhew has since bought a fabulous dairy herd and has named the most productive cow Stanley. I am reliably informed that when David does not reach his sales forecast he gets solace milking Stanley."

Later, the ardent Conservative Party supporter said he was expecting a special guest in Iain Duncan Smith but that he was not here yet. At that point a deep female voice boomed out: "He may not be here but I certainly I am." It was Baroness Thatcher.

After such a riotous farewell, yesterday's AGM was something of an anti-climax for Sir Stanley, who is retiring at the age of 70 after running the company for 54 years. Sir Stanley seemed in irritable mood, chastising shareholders for poor questions.

When one shareholder asked about the performance of Wanadoo shares following Dixons' sale of its Freeserve business to the French group last year, Sir Stanley said "you should look it up".

Sir Stanley gave a short speech saying: "They say farewell is such sweet sorrow. I wish you good health and good fortune."

Mark Souhami, Dixons' deputy chairman and Sir Stanley's close ally for 30 years, paid a tribute to the man who took Dixons from a single photographic studio to Britain's biggest electricals retailer.

He described Sir Stanley's stewardship of the company since the age of 16 as "the stuff of business legend". He added that £1,000 invested in Dixons when it floated in 1962 would be worth £1.2m today if rights issues had been taken up. An equivalent investment in the FTSE All Share index would be worth £115,000. Sir Stanley was given a standing ovation.

A trading statement showed like-for-like sales in the 19 weeks to 8 September were 6 per cent up on last year. But gross margins were lower due partly to lower mobile phone margins. The shares closed 3.75p lower at 177.25p.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Digital Optimisation Executive - Marketing

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's fastest growing, multi...

Recruitment Genius: Financial Reporting Manager

£70000 - £90000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Financial Reporting Manager i...

Recruitment Genius: Payments Operations Assistant

£23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They win lots of awards for the...

Recruitment Genius: Telephone Debt Negotiator

£13500 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This nationwide enforcement com...

Day In a Page

Syria civil war: Meet the military commander who says his soldiers will not rest until every inch of their war torn country is free of Islamist 'terrorists'

‘We won’t stop until Syria is back to normal’

Near the front lines with Islamist-controlled towns where Assad’s troops were besieged just last month, Robert Fisk meets a commander confidently preparing his soldiers for battle
The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation may undermine Hillary's chances

The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation...

... and how it may undermine Hillary's chances in 2016
12 best olive oils

Extra-virgin, cold-press, early-harvest, ultra-premium: 12 best olive oils

Choosing an olive oil is a surprising minefield. Save yourself the hassle with our handy guide
Rafa Benitez Real Madrid unveiling: New manager full of emotion at Bernabeu homecoming

Benitez full of emotion at Bernabeu homecoming

There were tears in the former Liverpool manager’s eyes as he was unveiled as Real Madrid coach. But the Spaniard knows he must make tough decisions if he is to succeed
Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?