Sir Terry Leahy was Chief Executive Officer of Tesco from 1997-2011, the world's third-largest grocer, and is regarded as one of Britain's leading business figures.
Terry Leahy was educated at St. Edward's College in the West Derby area of Liverpool before gaining a business science degree BSc (Hons) from Manchester University. After leaving university he worked for the Co-op for a year-and-a-half then quit to move to London.
He first joined Tesco as a casual worker stacking shelves but soon joined the marketing department aged 23, in 1979. Before he turned 30 he had become Tesco's marketing director at a time when it was struggling to keep up with Sainsbury's.
From 1984 to 1986 Terry held the position of Marketing Director until he was appointed to Tesco's board of directors in 1992, and then Deputy Managing Director in February 1995. By the time he was 40 he had worked his way up to become Chief Executive Officer in March 1997. During his tenure he presided over the business returning to its roots of being a 'Value Retailer'. He introduced the Tesco Clubcard, one of the most success loyalty schemes and has seen the growth of non-food sales rise from less than 1% of the business to represent more than 5%.
The group now operate in over 10 other countries, 6 of which as market leaders. The Internet grocery business has now been recognised as the largest and most successful in the world. Tesco serve some 20 million customers per week and employ 220,000 staff making it the UK's largest grocery retailer.
In 2004, Sir Terry Leahy was named European Businessman of the Year by Fortune Magazine. Throughout his career he has eschewed the trappings of other successful businessmen - and happily admits he feels more at home discussing football in a Liverpool pub than among London's glitzy set. Management Today magazine said: 'Coming from Liverpool hasn't given him airs and graces - and it has equipped him to ignore them in others'.
He is a member of the DEMOS Advisory Council and a Director on the Liverpool Vision Regeneration Board, and Co-Chancellor of Manchester University. He received his Knighthood for services to food retailing in the 2002 New Year Honours.
Among other accolades he has received the Freedom of the City of Liverpool which entitles him to herd his sheep across the city without being arrested.
In 2010, he received the Daily Telegraph's Award for a Decade of Excellence in Business, a Lifetime Achievement award from Director magazine and was voted Business Person of the Year by the Sunday Times. In March 2011, Leahy received two awards from Retail Week: the Lifetime Achievement Award and Retail Leader of the Year.
Sir Terry Leahy is married to Alison with three children and enjoys sport, reading, theatre and architecture in his spare time.
Sir Terry Leahy conference speech topics:
- Leadership: Creating a Culture to Lead
- Creative Marketing
- Leadership, Transparency and Growth
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