November 23rd, 2010
MORRISONS chief executive Dalton Philips has pledged the business's future to Bradford and promised to work with city leaders to attract more firms to the city.
Describing his as the "best retail job in the UK", Mr Philips used a speech at the Bradford Chamber Annual Dinner to draw a line under speculation that has often surrounded Morrisons' future since founder Sir Ken Morrison stood down as company chairman.
He said: "Just as Morrisons' success has been, I believe, good for Bradford, so Bradford has been good for our business. Indeed, a great deal of Morrisons’ success has been by staying close to the city and its solid values.
"I have no intention of changing a winning formula. I can’t turn myself into a Yorkshireman like Ken, appealing as it might be. But I want you to know that Morrisons’ commitment to Bradford remains every bit as strong under my watch as under his."
Mr Philips said the company's commitment extended beyond maintaining its headquarters in Bradford and that helping other businesses in the city would strengthen Morrisons.
Promising to do "all we can to help promote Bradford as a great place to do business" he said there was a "tremendous energy, determination and entrepreneurial spirit" in the city.
But he also highlighted the obstacles to improving the city reputation as a place to do business and promised Morrisons help in overcoming them.
Mr Philips pointed to unemployment levels, particularly among the young, and the high proportion of people with low skill levels as notable areas of concern.
Highlighting his company's own commitment to training its workforce, Mr Philips said he was keen to find ways of sharing Morrisons'expertise with other firms.
And he went further, telling the audience at the Cedar Court Hotel that he wanted Morrisons to help "champion the city".
"By working together with the BCC and council to encourage more businesses to locate here, by championing Bradford’s many strengths and co-operating to overcome challenges, we will strengthen not just the local economy but also our own companies.
"We will, I promise, play our full role. As I have said, this city, its people and its solid, decent values have been a great part of our success.
"We are keen to return the favour and help build the bright and prosperous future that’s within Bradford’s grasp."
Bradford Chamber president Harold Robinson said: “It is encouraging to hear Dalton’s comments about the importance of Bradford and its businesses to the success and future plans of Morrisons.
"It is essential that businesses work together not only for their own success but the future success and prosperity of the district in general.”
Source: Business Desk