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James Timpson OBE

James Timpson OBE

Chief executive of Timpson

James Timpson is Chief Executive of Timpson, a family retail business based in Manchester, UK.

The business trades from 1400 shops across country, comprising of 920 Timpson outlets and the others a mix of Max Spielmann and Snappy Snaps photo shops.  The Company turnover is in excess of £200M and is extremely fortunate to employ over 3500 amazing colleagues.

The Company offers a diverse range of services including shoe repairs, key cutting, watch repairs, mobile phone and Ipad repairs, photo printing and development together with photo gifts.  You can even get a meal and pint from either the White Eagle Pub or Oyster Catcher restaurant in Anglesey, both of which are also part of the Timpson Group!

Timpson has been in business since 1865 and its success in the main is bestowed to their superstar colleagues and unique “upside down management” approach.  Basically, those colleagues who are customer facing and tasked with amazing customers on a daily basis are the most important; and for others who work behind the scenes, it’s their job to amaze the shop colleagues! 

James strives to keep the business fresh and moving and is always up for trying new services and ideas. A major success to date is the revolutionary Timpson Pod, a standalone unit that he developed with their talented in-house Display and Development team. Following the successful installation of the first pod in Warrington in March 2010, these units have since become increasingly popular as a concession outlet for Supermarket stores and occupy prime spots in many supermarket car park locations up and down the country.

It’s often the strangest and most out there ideas that provide the greatest rewards and none more so than James’s maverick approach to recruitment!  It may raise the odd eyebrow to learn that he has successfully forge relationships with over 70 prisons across the UK.  Working closely with the prison service, Timpson’s are able to identify potential candidates within prison who have the right kind of personality to make it on release working within the business.  It’s a closely managed process from selection, training and mentoring up to release, with the opportunity to secure employment with the Company from walking out the gates.  10% of Timpson colleagues were recruited directly from prison.

Having had fantastic results James has gone on to Chair the Employers Forum for Reducing Reoffending, which is a group of likeminded employers who offer a second chance to people with a criminal conviction. EFFRR members actively encourage other employers to be more willing to recruit ex-offenders and are on hand to help guide businesses along the way to help maximize the success of any placements.

James’s passion and enthusiasm for business, people, his team and the wider community was recognized in the Queen’s Birthday Honors List in 2011 where he was presented with an OBE for ‘Services to Training and Employment for Disadvantaged People’.  The following year he was appointed the David Goldman Visiting Professor of Innovation for 2012/13, at the Newcastle University Business School helping to inspire and motivate budding entrepreneurs, business leaders and students alike, along with providing the odd business school lecture!  Although very proud of both these and other achievements, he dedicates such awards to his family and great colleagues who have helped him along the way.

More recently James was appointed the HRH Prince of Wales Ambassador for responsible business in the North West.  It’s well know that James is very much an advocate of providing people with a second chance and one of his main priorities during his term as Ambassador, is to encourage other businesses in the North West to get involved in as many as possible of Business in the Community’s (BITC) brilliant employability programmes!

James lives with his wife Roisin and 3 children, Bede (17), Patrick (15) and Niamh (13) in Manley, Cheshire.  The working week is always at a fast pace, but weekends are most definitely reserved for his special and extremely supportive family!