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EDITIONS
Wednesday, 11 September, 2002, 16:28 GMT 17:28 UK
Will Sir Stanley go quietly from Dixons?
Sir Stanley waving goodbye outside Dixons
Sir Stanley will concentrate on fighting the euro

Sir Stanley Kalms took exception to even the mildest hint that he might have remained at the helm of Dixons for too long.

In an interview to mark his retirement as chairman of the company, he seemed astonished to be asked if he should have left sooner.


I've been here 54 years, the company's grown every year without exception

Sir Stanley Kalms
"Certainly not. Why should I think that?" he demanded when he spoke to BBC News Online in between farewell meetings with his staff.

Sir Stanley joined his father's company in 1948 when it was just a one-store family business.

He has turned it from a small photographic studio into a chain of electrical retailers with brands including Dixons, Currys and PC World.

Time for change?

Sir Stanley, who is 70 years old, has no time for suggestions that company bosses should bow out sooner rather than later.

"They're nonsense, they're absurd, and I'm surprised you even reflect that view.


His company has been criticised for poor service... but Sir Stanley has been popular with investors

"I've been here 54 years, the company's grown every year without exception, what's the logic of that particular, rather oddball, theory?" he wanted to know.

Sir Stanley has been chairman since 1971 and will now move into the role of president but will remain actively involved in the company.

But with the man that built the business into the UK's dominant electrical retailer now taking a back-seat, can we expect the company to change?


Sadness is not one of my emotions

Sir Stanley Kalms

"I certainly hope we always change.

"I would be very disappointed if in 10 years time we saw no change - it would mean we had stagnated," he said.

No sadness

Sir Stanley has ruled and guided his business along every step of its successful path, although he is also seen as someone who can delegate.

His company has been criticised for poor service and abusing its position in the market. But Sir Stanley has been popular with investors because he has built such a successful business and done wonders for the share price.

There must, I suggested, be a feeling of sadness on giving up the role of chairman.


I will still be a constant opponent of introducing the euro

Sir Stanley Kalms

"It's not one of my emotions actually," Sir Stanley said.

"I'm not leaving, I'm just changing my role. I now become president instead of chairman.

"There's no sadness. I'm still here, I'm still interested and I hope to still play some part in the company's future."

Fighting the euro

Sir Stanley is fiercely anti-euro, and it seemed reasonable to assume he would now have more time to concentrate on the campaign against the UK joining the single currency.

But he is not a man to embrace the idea of having more time on his hands.

"I will still be a constant opponent of introducing the euro and abandoning the pound.

"I'm also very active as treasurer of the Conservative party, I've a wide range of interests, cultural, economic, political, social and I think I shall still be at full stretch," he said.

Even so, he is clearly going to do all he can to fight the euro.

"There is absolutely no doubt that this country will reject the euro as a substitute, a very poor substitute, for the pound," he said.

And, speaking with the passion that helped him to turn the family photographic shop into one of the country's best-known retailers he declared: "I've never started anything which I wasn't convinced that I would win."

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 ON THIS STORY
Sir Stanley Kalms
"There's no sadness. I'm still here, I'm still interested"
Sir Stanley Kalms
"There's absolutely no doubt that the country will reject the euro"
See also:

11 Sep 02 | Business
09 Jan 02 | Business
09 Sep 02 | Business
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