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Sir John Timpson

John Timpson
John Timpson
John Timpson

Best known for:

Sir John Timpson CBE is Britain's most successful cobbler.


Sir John Timpson is chairman of a close-knit family business that stretches back to the end of the 19th century. But it is one of the least traditional companies in the UK.


Sir John Timpson CBE was educated at Oundle and Nottingham University.

The Timpson family business was taken over in 1973, but 10 years later John led a £42m management buyout.  In 1987 he sold the shoe shops and concentrated on building the shoe repairing and key cutting business, which has diversified into engraving, watch repairs, dry cleaning and photo processing.

Timpson now has over 1300 branches nationwide with a turnover of £195m and profits of over £15m.  It is a private business wholly owned by John Timpson and his family.  Timpson is recognised for its innovative work helping ex-offenders – it is the UK’s most active employer of people from prison. 

Recently widowed, Mr Timpson was married to his wife Alex for 47 years.  He has five children Victoria (46), James (44), Edward (42), together with Oliver (40) and Henry (28).

Mr & Mrs Timpson were foster carers for 31 years during which time they fostered 87 children.

In 2000 he wrote ‘Dear James,’ which passes on to his son the lessons learned in 25 years as a Chief Executive.  He describes his business philosophy in ‘How to Ride a Giraffe’ and his latest book, ‘Upside Down Management’, was published in April 2010.

John has also wrote the books "Looking After Looked After Children" and "A guide to Attachment" which is for academics, heads, schools and talks with children with attachment problems. John aims to get attachment theory into initial teacher training. 

For over 10 years he had his own column under the name ‘Timpo’ in the magazine Real Business and has a weekly column in the Daily Telegraph.

In 2004 he was awarded the CBE in the Birthday Honours List for Services to the Retail Sector and in 2017 he was knighted for his services to business and fostering.

His main leisure interests outside the business are connected with sport, he regularly plays tennis, gold and real tennis!

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