PracticeConsultingBusiness Week – Coming in from the cold.

Business Week - Coming in from the cold.

Following a bad year, Iceland hopes customers will no longer give it a frosty reception

Ahead of its annual results and with a new chairman and senior management board, Iceland is hoping to shake off negative publicity generated by former chairman and chief executive Malcolm Walker and prove it has moved on.

The frozen food retailer became engulfed in controversy in January of last year when it was discovered Walker had sold #13.6m worth of shares two weeks before a worrying profits warning that sent shares plunging.

Walker, who founded the company, denied knowing about the drop in profits, generated by the lack of popularity of its organic produce, before selling his shares. But following the negative publicity and an investigation of the Financial Services Authority, Walker resigned.

Soon after, the board named a new management board and last month, George Greener was appointed non-executive chairman to succeed David Price who had been appointed to the post temporarily. Although the company no longer has official ties with Walker, a spokeswoman told Accountancy Age it still receives inquiries regarding his shares.

She said: ‘Iceland is cooperating fully with the investigation,’ but added it could not comment on the Walker investigation.

At the announcement of the group’s annual results in July, chief executive Bill Grimsey acknowledged the year had seen trading difficulties. ‘Nevertheless, my prime reason for joining Iceland in January remains intact – namely my belief in the fundamental strengths and potential of the enlarged group formed through the Booker acquisition.’

He said the group’s recovery continued to be a ‘major task’, but said they had begun to reverse the decline in sales.

The company’s site is at www.iceland.co.uk.

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