Gerry Robinson

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Sir Gerrard Jude "Gerry" Robinson (born 23 October 1948, Dunfanaghy, County Donegal, Ireland) is an Irish-born British business executive and television presenter. He is the former non-executive Chairman of Allied Domecq and the ex-Chairman/chief executive of Granada.

Dunfanaghy Village in Ulster, Ireland

Dunfanaghy is a small town, former fishing port, and commercial centre on the north coast of County Donegal in Ulster, Ireland. It lies on Donegal's North West coast, specifically the west side of Sheephaven Bay, on the N56 road. The town has its own dedicated website, which gives information about the town and the surrounding area.

County Donegal County in the Republic of Ireland

County Donegal is a county of Ireland in the province of Ulster. It is named after the town of Donegal in the south of the county. Donegal County Council is the local council and Lifford the county town.

Ireland Island in north-west Europe, 20th largest in world, politically divided into the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland (a part of the UK)

Ireland is an island in the North Atlantic. It is separated from Great Britain to its east by the North Channel, the Irish Sea, and St George's Channel. Ireland is the second-largest island of the British Isles, the third-largest in Europe, and the twentieth-largest on Earth.


Early life

The ninth of 10 children born to Anthony and Elizabeth Robinson, an Irish father and a Scottish mother, Robinson moved with his family to England from County Donegal in his early teens. He briefly trained to become a Catholic priest at St. Mary's Seminary of the Holy Ghost Fathers at Castlehead, Grange-over-Sands, Lancashire. He began a career in accounting in 1965 as a clerk with the Matchbox Toys company. While with the firm, he progressed through various accounting roles to become Chief Management Accountant in 1974. He also, during that time, qualified as an Associate Chartered Management Accountant. [1]

Scotland Country in Europe, part of the United Kingdom

Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Sharing a border with England to the southeast, Scotland is otherwise surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, by the North Sea to the northeast and by the Irish Sea to the south. In addition to the mainland, situated on the northern third of the island of Great Britain, Scotland has over 790 islands, including the Northern Isles and the Hebrides.

Catholic Church Christian church led by the Bishop of Rome

The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with approximately 1.3 billion baptised Catholics worldwide as of 2017. As the world's "oldest continuously functioning international institution", it has played a prominent role in the history and development of Western civilisation. The church is headed by the Bishop of Rome, known as the Pope. Its central administration, the Holy See, is in the Vatican City, an enclave within the city of Rome in Italy.

Castle Head, Grange-over-Sands grade II listed English country house in the United kingdom

Castle Head is a country house surrounded by 20 acres (81,000 m2) of grounds near to the seaside resort of Grange-over-Sands in Cumbria, England. It is currently used as a field studies centre and is a Grade II listed building.


In 1974, he left Matchbox to work for Lex Vehicle Leasing as a management accountant. He then rose through the company before being appointed finance director. In 1980, he joined the UK franchise of Coca-Cola, owned at that time by Grand Metropolitan. In 1983 he was appointed managing director of Grand Metropolitan's international services division. In 1987 he led the successful £163m management buyout of the loss-making contract services and catering division of Compass Group, known as Compass Caterers. He joined Granada as CEO in 1991, and soon ousted Granada's chairman, David Plowright in 1992, which led John Cleese to call Robinson "an upstart caterer ". [2]

Coca-Cola Carbonated soft drink

Coca-Cola, or Coke, is a carbonated soft drink manufactured by The Coca-Cola Company. Originally intended as a patent medicine, it was invented in the late 19th century by John Stith Pemberton and was bought out by businessman Asa Griggs Candler, whose marketing tactics led Coca-Cola to its dominance of the world soft-drink market throughout the 20th century. The drink's name refers to two of its original ingredients: coca leaves, and kola nuts. The current formula of Coca-Cola remains a trade secret, although a variety of reported recipes and experimental recreations have been published.

Grand Metropolitan

Grand Metropolitan plc was a leisure, manufacturing and property conglomerate headquartered in England. The company was listed on the London Stock Exchange and was a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index until it merged with Guinness plc to form Diageo in 1997.

Compass Group Multinational contract foodservice company headquartered in Chertsey, Surrey, England

Compass Group Plc is a British multinational contract foodservice company headquartered in Chertsey, Surrey. It is the largest contract foodservice company in the world. Compass Group has operations in about 50 countries, employs over 550,000 people and serves around 5.5 billion meals a year. Compass Group is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index. It is also a Fortune Global 500 company.

Robinson steered the company through various mergers, and hostile takeovers including London Weekend Television (1993) and Forte Group (1996). In 1999 Robinson was the subject of a biography, Lord of the Dance, written by business journalist William Kay, and published by Orion Business Books ISBN   0752810480. In 2005 he made an unsuccessful attempt to oust Doug Flynn as CEO of Rentokil Initial and install himself as Executive chairman for a 5% stake in the company, then valued at £56M. [ citation needed ]

London Weekend Television former ITV network franchise

London Weekend Television (LWT) was the ITV network franchise holder for Greater London and the Home Counties at weekends, broadcasting from Fridays at 5.15 pm to Monday mornings at 6:00 am. From 1968 until 1992, when LWT's weekday counterpart was Thames Television, there was an on-screen handover to LWT on Friday nights. From 1993 to 2002, when LWT's weekday counterpart was Carlton Television, the transfer usually occurred invisibly during a commercial break as Carlton and LWT shared studio and transmission facilities.

Forte Group defunct British hotel and restaurant company

Forte Group plc was a British hotel and restaurant company. It was listed on the London Stock Exchange and was a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index until it was acquired by Granada plc. Its head office was in the London Borough of Camden.

William Kay is a British financial and business journalist.


Robinson's first foray into broadcasting was a revival of the BBC's Troubleshooter show, originally fronted by Sir John Harvey-Jones in the early 1990s. Titled I'll Show Them Who's Boss and co-produced by the Open University, in 2004 he went into struggling businesses to try to turn them round by advice and mentoring.

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters are at Broadcasting House in Westminster, London, and it is the world's oldest national broadcasting organisation and the largest broadcaster in the world by number of employees. It employs over 20,950 staff in total, 16,672 of whom are in public sector broadcasting. The total number of staff is 35,402 when part-time, flexible, and fixed-contract staff are included.

Troubleshooter was a British reality television series, produced and shown by the BBC, focusing on experienced business leaders visiting and advising small and often struggling UK businesses.

John Harvey-Jones English businessman and television presenter

Sir John Harvey-Jones MBE was an English businessman. He was the chairman of Imperial Chemical Industries from 1982 to 1987. He was best known by the public for his BBC television show, Troubleshooter, in which he advised struggling businesses.

In January 2007 following a similar format, he presented a three-part series, Can Gerry Robinson Fix the NHS? as he attempted to reduce waiting lists at Rotherham General Hospital. [3] He returned a year later for a sequel, Can Gerry Robinson Fix the NHS? One Year On. [4] In December 2009, Robinson presented a programme in a similar format entitled Can Gerry Robinson Fix Dementia Care Homes?. [5]

Can Gerry Robinson Fix the NHS? was a three-part Open University BBC series shown on BBC2 from the 8th to 10 January 2007. This is the second BBC series where Gerry Robinson works to turn around failing companies, but whereas his earlier series I’ll Show Them Who’s Boss had a commercial focus, this one deals with the public sector.

Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust operates Rotherham General Hospital in South Yorkshire, England. It was previously Rotherham General Hospitals NHS Trust before becoming an NHS Foundation Trust in 2005.

In June 2009 he presented a special edition of The Money Programme entitled Gerry Robinson's Car Crash investigating the history and future of the British motor industry. He regularly appears on British TV as a celebrity businessman. [6] In July 2009 he started a TV series called Gerry's Big Decision, in which he reviews struggling companies and decides whether it is worth investing his own money to save them. From 14 January – 18 February 2011 he presented BBC2 show Can't Take It with You, which helps people to write their wills. [7]

Other affiliations

Robinson also served as chairman of the Arts Council England for six years from 1998, in which capacity he was one of the many victims of a spoof by British comedian Ali G. [8]

Personal life

Robinson has divorced and remarried and has four children. He lives in Raphoe,Co Donegal [9] ; he established a botanical garden with a narrow gauge railway – the Difflin Lake Railway – which is open to the public. [10]


Although originally a Conservative Party supporter, he supported Tony Blair and starred in a Labour Party election broadcast, saying that "... frankly, there's only one party that can represent Britain best, getting business right, and that's New Labour". [11]

In June 2008, Robinson was one of four Labour donors who expressed their concerns with Gordon Brown's leadership and stated he would not be contributing any more money to the Labour Party until there was a change of leader. He had donated some £70,000 to the party between 2001 and 2005. [12]


He was knighted in the 2004 New Year Honours List.

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  1. "Gerry Robinson, Sir - Personally Speaking Bureau" . Retrieved 4 May 2015.
  2. "David Plowright obituary". The Telegraph. 30 August 2006. Retrieved 17 July 2011.
  3. "BBC/OU, "Can Gerry Robinson Fix The NHS?"". Retrieved 14 July 2009.
  4. "BBC/OU – Can Gerry Robinson Fix The NHS? One Year On". 22 November 2007. Retrieved 14 July 2009.
  5. British Broadcasting Corporation. "Can Gerry Robinson Fix Dementia Care Homes?". BBC. Retrieved 22 January 2014.
  6. IMDb bio
  7. Gerry Robinson official website
  8. Oakfield Park
  9. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 14 December 2007. Retrieved 17 July 2009.
  10. "Granada TV Part Two: Comrades at the Top". Archived from the original on 11 September 2009. Retrieved 14 July 2009.
  11. "Labour donor says Brown must go". BBC News. 29 June 2008. Retrieved 14 July 2009.
Media offices
Preceded by
Lord Gowrie
Chair of Arts Council England
Succeeded by
Christopher Frayling