Sir Gerry Robinson

Image of Sir Gerry Robinson

Sir Gerry Robinson was born in 1948 in Dunfanaghy, County Donegal.  He began his career in 1965 in the cost office of Lesney Products, (Matchbox Toys) after leaving St Mary’s Seminary at Castlehead.  During his time at Lesney he progressed through various accounting roles to become Chief Management Accountant in 1974. 

He also, during that time, qualified as an ACMA. In 1974 he moved to Lex Service Group as the Management Accountant for Lex's Volvo network.  By 1980 he had become Financial Controller and Finance Director of Lex Industrial Distribution and Hire.  He left Lex in 1980 to become Finance Director of Grand Metropolitan's UK Coca Cola business.  A year later he became its Sales & Marketing Director and then its Managing Director.  In 1983 he was appointed Managing Director of Grand Metropolitan's troubled International Services business and went on to become Chief Executive of the whole Contract Services division which in that year had lost some £10.5m.

In 1987 he led the UK's then largest management buy-out with the £163m purchase of the Division, subsequently renamed the Compass Group.  The Compass Group was later floated on the London market. He joined Granada in October 1991 as Chief Executive and was Chairman from 1996 until 2001.  He has also been Chairman of BSkyB PLC, ITN, Arts Council England and Allied Domecq PLC.  Currently Chairman of Moto Hospitality Ltd.

Gerry was awarded a Knighthood in the 2003 New Year’s Honours for Services to the Arts and Business.

  • I’ll Show Them Who’s Boss  (published a book of the same title on business leadership)
  • Can Gerry Robinson Fix the NHS?
  • Can Gerry Robinson Fix Dementia?
  • Gerry’s Big Decision
  • Can’t Take It With you

He has appeared on numerous chat shows and current affairs programmes on both TV & radio in the UK and Ireland

Interview with Sir Gerry Robinson

"I have always believed that humans have a desperate need for a base and that, more often than not, that base is where you were born. In fact, we have a bit of a tendency to romanticise it when we are away from it.

I can find no word in the dictionary for the opposite of homesickness. Maybe there isn’t one but there should be because I feel it whatever it might be called. Something in me is at peace and has been since deciding to come and live again permanently in Donegal. This feeling which is strong and pleasant is also elusive. It has something to do with soft days, the smell of turf smoke, gentle accents, friendly smiles and a feeling that things aren’t as urgent as you feared – they will get done.

This isn’t just some soft sentimental thing. Believe me there are things here that can drive me mad – pot holes, poor planning that spoilt many beautiful places but these are balanced in the big picture of things by the grand scale of the mountains, the extraordinary beaches, the clean fresh air, the fall and crash of the sea and the beautiful but testing golf courses. There is simply no argument, Donegal is beautiful.

In an age when the location of certain types of businesses has become less of an issue because of the nature of communication, perhaps your own business could have a base here. You have everything you need; committed, well educated, English speaking youth with an ambition to succeed. I believe too that their willingness to think internationally is a benefit. On top of all that there is the very favourable tax regime in Ireland. So get your thoughts together on this and plan to do something about it. Remember that, if you don’t, we know where you live and we’ll come and get you.

This article taken from Issue 2 of the Donegal Community in Touch Ezine, January 2009