The Business On... Humphrey Cobbold, chief executive, Wiggle
Friday 09 December 2011
On his bike, we hear?
You hear wrong. It's true that Wiggle has just been sold for £180m to Bridgepoint Private Equity. But the online retailer of cycling and other sporting gear is retaining the services of Mr Cobbold and its chairman Andy Bond, the former Asda boss.
They're keeping theyellow jerseys then?
That's right; Wiggle is the best-known and largest company specialising in what's dubbed the "mamil" market. It stands for middle-aged man in lycra, and it's a big thing in this niche of retail. Middle-aged men interested in cycling and other athletic pursuits have money to spend.
So is Mr Cobbold a mamil?
These days he is. He's fallen in love with cycling since taking the post at Wiggle in 2009. So much so that he's the proud owner of six bikes (and counting).
What's his background?
Well, Cobbold is a famous name in commerce. The Cobbold family founded the eponymous brewer and ancestors include a Governor of the Bank of England. Tim Cobbold, who took over as chief executive of bank-note printer De La Rue last year, is Humphrey's brother.
And Humphrey himself?
A decade at management consultancy McKinsey followed an MBA from Insead and a degree from Cambridge. He's familiar with private equity, having had a spell at Candover, and has also worked at Trinity Mirror.
Doesn't miss the rat race?
Would you? He's running a successful business that promises to make him rich, doing something he loves. And while Wiggle does have rivals, it's miles up the road. The peloton faces a thankless task playing catch-up.
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