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Gerald Ratner speaker - Photo by EG Focus - CC BY 2.0

Gerald Ratner

London, UK

Former Chief Executive of Ratners Jewellery

Famous “gaffe” in 1991 voted worst business mistake of all-time by the Telegraph

Relaunched his career as founder of Gerald Online

Gerald Ratner was the Chief Executive of the British jewellery chain Ratners Jewellery, which he built into the world’s largest jewellery retailer business. At its peak it consisted of 2500 shops, making £125m with a turnover of nearly £2 billion.

After disastrously criticising the brand during a speech given at the Institute of Directors in 1991, the company suffered huge financial losses, and was renamed Signet Group in 1993. Gerald went on to be declared bankrupt.

However, Gerald bounced back. He started a local gym and sold the business in 2001 for £3.9 million. He then went on to relaunch his career in the jewellery sector with GeraldOnline.com in 2004, an export manufacturing company based in India, which is now a highly successful business. Recently on his visit to India for the inaugural eTailing India Expo, Gerald announced that he would be entering the Indian market.

Gerald Ratner has appeared on the Apprentice as part of a Comic Relief Special and is an excellent example of how entrepreneurs can recover from even the most catastrophic events.

Our Comment

"Gerald is a talented businessman with an astonishing story to tell. Although, “doing a Ratner” became a pejorative expression in the business community, Gerald’s more significant legacy is as an example of how grit and determination can triumph over even the most dramatic reversal of fortunes."

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