£Zero to £1.1 billion. Adopted miner’s son to retail magnate. A remarkable story.
Lord Kirkham stepped down as Chairman of DFS in June 2010, 41 years after he started his company on the outskirts of Doncaster. Today DFS has 79 stores, 3 factories and more than 2,600 staff.
Founded in 1969, DFS under the direction of Graham Kirkham traded for 24 years as a private company, 12 years as a FTSE company listed on the London Stock Exchange and after being bought back by Lord Kirkham, a further five years as a private business. DFS was sold in 2010 for a reputed £500m helping put miner’s son Lord Kirkham in the billionaire league.
For Lord Kirkham, a Yorkshireman through and through, being awarded the accolade of Yorkshireman of The Year in 2004 and receiving an Honorary Doctorate from Bradford University in 1998 was as important as receiving a Knighthood in 1995, a Peerage in 1999 and a C.V.O from HM The Queen in 2005.
It’s fair to say that he can identify with all the challenges that new businesses face today as Lord Kirkham learned business, hands on, the hard way and built a staggeringly successful world class company.
“YMC2012 have invited me back to speak and take part in the Billion Pound Panel. I’m delighted to accept. Events like this are so important for the region’s business community. It’s a real chance to move your business forward, receive good advice from people who have been there and done it as well as meet many like-minded business people. Last year’s event was tremendous so I’m not surprised that YMC 2012 is now the biggest business event in Yorkshire.”
The Lord Kirkham, CVO, Founder of DFS