Spotlight On... Malcolm Walker, chief executive, Iceland

Is he the frozen food guru?

Well yes, he is the founder and chief executive of Iceland Foods.

What's he up to?

Mr Walker, who opened his first store in 1970, has entered exclusive talks with the liquidators of two failed Icelandic banks to buy the 750-store chain from them for about £1.5bn. Landsbanki and Glitnir put their combined shareholding of 77 per cent up for sale last year.

Was anyone else interested?

Yes, the private equity firms BC Partners and Bain Capital submitted final-round bids on 31 January, while Asda and Morrisons dropped out of the race before then. But Mr Walker, who was advised by Rothschild, now appears in pole position to buy the chain he founded.

What does it mean for Iceland's staff?

Most are likely to be dancing in the aisles, as the frozen food chain has gone from strength to strength since he returned in 2005. Its profits jumped by 14.8 per cent to £155.5m for the year to 25 March 2011.

Why did he ever leave?

He stepped down in 2001, following his controversial sale of £13.5m of shares in December 2000, just weeks before a profit warning. But Mr Walker was cleared by the Serious Fraud Office of any wrongdoing.

And in his absence?

The business struggled under the leadership of Bill Grimsey, the former boss of Focus DIY, and Iceland's website still refers to the four-year period as "The Dark Ages". The defunct Icelandic group Baugur acquired Iceland in 2005 and brought Mr Walker back.

Talking of ages, isn't Mr Walker getting on a bit?

Funny you should mention that, as he turned 66 on Saturday, but his passion for the business appears undimmed. He also did a bit of mountaineering last year.

Rambling in Snowdonia?

Hardly. He and his son reached the North Col of Everest at 7,020 metres (23,030 feet), helping to raise at least £1m for Alzheimer's Research.

The boy done good

You could say that. The Sunday Times says he's worth £166m.

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 People

HR Analyst - Banking - Bristol - £350-£400

£350 - £400 per day: Orgtel: HR Analyst - Banking - Bristol - £350 - £400 per ...

HR Manager - HR Generalist / Sole in HR

£30000 - £35000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Manager - HR Generalis...

Business Analyst - Banking - London - £350-£400

£350 - £400 per day: Orgtel: Business Analyst - Banking - People Change - Lond...

HR Manager - Milton Keynes - £50,000 + package

£48000 - £50000 per annum + car allowance + benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Shared...

Day In a Page

10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan