The Business On... Ken McMeikan, chief executive, Greggs
Friday 07 October 2011
C'mon now, what's not to love about the man who runs Greggs?
Well, we wouldn't disagree. If you're looking for comfort food you can't find much that's better than a Greggs sausage roll. And, thanks to Ken McMeikan's ambitious expansion plans, they can be bought in most UK high streets.
There's a but though, isn't there?
Well, the health lobby hardly sings the praises of the Scot's Superstar Doughnuts. They include Triple Chocolate, Strawberry Milkshake, Jaffa Cake and the 440-calorie Coconut Snowball. He wouldn't have lasted long in his first job (he joined the Navy at 16 and saw action in the Falklands) if he'd eaten too many. But in yesterday's trading statement he said like-for-like sales rose 0.8 per cent in the 13 weeks to 1 October (against 0.4 per cent in the previous six months) and 1.4 million Superstars were scoffed in four weeks. And that's before the launch of the lurid, green Slime Donut for Halloween.
How did he come to join Greggs?
Well Mr McMeikan, 45, spent 14 years in various roles at Tesco, including a stint as chief executive of its Europa Foods convenience store business in 2002, where he had responsibility for integrating it into Tesco Express. He also served a stint as chief executive of Tesco in Japan, but only last six weeks as Sainsbury's came calling. It was from there that he joined Greggs, taking on the top job just over two years ago.
Tesco isn't known for resting on its laurels, is it?
No and don't expect Mr McMeikan to either. Greggs has more than 1,500 stores at the moment, but he wants 2,000. He has responded to the economic chill by adding a wildly successful breakfast offering to Greggs, and after his former PA came second in the The Apprentice, he welcomed her back with a big promotion.
What are his views on business?
He says he not a big fan of debt, either in his personal or professional live. That's perhaps not surprising for a Leeds United fan. And he's keen on taking Greggs overseas, so you might be able to get those sausage rolls on holiday one day.
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