Kirklees' Business Titans Panel Q&A
13:15 - 14:00
A Superb Opportunity to Engage with Kirklees' Leading Business People
This session will bring together key business leaders from Kirklees' businesses to create a live forum where Kirklees businesses can learn how the best got to where they are now. This will allow delegates to interact with these Business Titans on their experience/mistakes/successes and secrets.
Run as a panel Question and Answer session, like BBC’s 'Question Time' this is a seminar not to be missed!
Here are the Panellists
Dean Hoyle - Founder, Card Factory
Together with wife Janet, Dean set up greetings card retailer Card Factory in 1997 and built a business empire consisting of over 500 shops nationwide – an achievement that saw him named Ernst & Young North and Midlands Entrepreneur of the Year in June 2009.
Dean became Chairman of Huddersfield Town in June 2009, having joined the Board of Directors as Chairman-elect in April 2008. In March 2010 Dean became sole owner of Huddersfield Town and on 8th April 2010, Card Factory was sold to private equity group Charterhouse.
Under Dean's Chairmanship, Town have gone from strength-to-strength, on and off the pitch. Last season, this culminated in a breathtaking Play Off Final win over Sheffield Utd at Wembley, meaning when Dean sits down at this year's Conference, Town will be a month-or-so into their first season in the n-power Championship.
Dean will offer delegates a forthright insight into how starting selling greetings cards from the back of an old van led to the mind-boggling sale of Card Factory and then owning the football club he has supported man and boy.
Ajaz Ahmed - Founder, Freeserve
Ajaz Ahmed is best known for being the Founder of Freeserve, which was once the UK’s largest Internet Service Provider. His eureka moment came when he bought a computer at PC World in Leeds and nobody in the store could tell him how to get onto the Internet.
After much persuasion Dixons launched Freeserve in September 1998 and it became the UK’s largest ISP in just three short months. It floated just nine months later at a market cap of £1.5bn and entered the FT 100 soon after, in March 2000 it had a market cap of £9bn. Freeserve was later sold by Dixons to Wanadoo (a France Telecom company) for £1.6bn in 2001.
Ajaz held the position of Business Development Director until April 2001 when following the sale he left the company to pursue a variety of business interests. He now has a number of investments that he is actively involved in and his latest venture is Legal365.com. He also sits on the Board of the Business School at the University of Huddersfield.
Graham Leslie - Founder, Galpharm International
In 1971, Graham Leslie spent four months on the dole and attended 30 job interviews. At the 31st interview he was offered a position with Winthorp Pharmaceuticals which introduced him to the opportunity of founding Galpharm International in 1982 in a shed on Firth Street in Huddersfield.
From here, Graham steered Galpharm International to become the largest privately owned store brand Pharmaceutical Company in Europe. He was responsible for control changes in the Medicine Control Agency's rules and regulations during the mid 1990's by switching molecules from Prescription to Pharmacy and from Pharmacy to the Grocery market.
This has to date, saved the NHS approximately £4 billion. Galpharm International was successfully sold in January 2008 to Perrigo US for $88 million.
He was the Founder Chairman and creator of the world’s first ever 25,000 all-seater Stadium in a joint venture with Sir John Harman of the Local Authority and home to both Huddersfield Town Football Club and the Giants Rugby League Club.
Graham has met and dined with two American Presidents and current Prime Minister David Cameron. He has advised the UK’s All Party Health Select Committee and during one of the worst recessions ever experienced in the UK economy, has taken seven companies in various forms of difficulty/insolvency/bankruptcy and turned them into exceedingly profitable businesses with the total annualised turnover of already £33m within two years. One company’s initial contract was for £8.9m on its first week of operation.
During 2006 Graham was honoured with a Doctorate of Business and in January 2010 Graham was appointed the first Regional Ambassador for The Prince’s Trust for Yorkshire & The Humber for his philanthropic approach to his community, staff and those less fortunate than himself.
By 2011 he was further acknowledged by the University of Huddersfield in being appointed their first ever (in 156 years) non-academic Resident Professor of Enterprise & Entrepreneurship.
Graham Leslie is a true Kirklees champion and returns to his home town to share his expertise via the 'Business Titans Panel' and a stand-alone seminar.