James Timpson OBE: “Business success depends on the happiness of our colleagues”

Written by Ian Wylie Tuesday 05 December 2023
Timpsons is not just a place to get your shoes repaired. It’s a 150-year-old family business run with a culture of trust and kindness. James Timpson OBE bagged the 2023 CMI Gold Medal for his part in shaping it
Presidents Dinner

“What I’ve learned is the more we run the business along the lines of kindness and trust, the better we seem to do,” said James Timpson OBE DL CMgr CCMI upon collecting his CMI Gold Medal Award for outstanding achievement at the 2023 CMI President’s dinner.

The chief executive of service retailer Timpson Group received the award in recognition of his commitment not only to helping Timpson to grow, but also to shaping a pervasive culture of trust and kindness. 

[Recruiting prisoners] has been one of the best things we’ve done because we found so many amazing people

This philosophy notably influences the company’s approach to recruitment: as well as being a handy place for getting your shoes resoled or new keys cut, Timpson has built a reputation for being one of the largest employers in the UK of not just ex-offenders, but of serving prisoners, too. Now, 600 prison leavers make up 10% of the overall recruitment at Timpson. 

“It’s been one of the best things we’ve done because we found so many amazing people,” explains James, whose first prison recruit is still with the company today, 21 years later.

“It’s not just about recruiting the right people, but what can you do to be kind to them and make them happy,” James continued. 

Want to find out more about 2023’s Gold Medal award winner and his approach to management?


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