Cover art for podcast Desert Island Discs

Desert Island Discs

300 EpisodesProduced by BBC Radio 4Website

Eight tracks, a book and a luxury: what would you take to a desert island? Guests share the soundtrack of their lives.

35:33

John Timpson

Kirsty Young's castaway is the businessman, John Timpson.

He is chairman of his eponymous high street retailers and the business is in his blood: started by his great-grandfather in 1865 it is now run by one of his sons.

Although he fulfilled his family's expectations by running the family firm, he's a man who ploughs his own furrow as all his staff are given the day off on their birthday, and can use the company's holiday homes for free. A proponent of what he calls 'upside down management', his employees, all of whom are called 'colleagues', enjoy an unusual degree of autonomy in the running of the individual shops and 10% of the company's employees have spent time in prison.

Married to his late wife Alex for over 47 years, together they fostered 90 children. He has written several books on leadership and pens a weekly business advice column.

Producer: Cathy Drysdale.

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