Sir John Timpson and FD Paresh Majithia to run family business while son James serves as prisons minister

Sir John Timpson

Enigmatic family head and group chairman Sir John Timpson is to spend more time with the Timpson retail empire while his son James serves as Minister for Prisons and Probation. 

In a statement to all “colleagues” Timpson senior revealed that as part of his son James taking on the ministerial role, he has resigned as a director of the Manchester-headquartered business, and will not be involved in the family-owned company while he carries out “this important job”.

Sir John will run the business with finance director Paresh Majithia, who has been promoted to Acting Group Managing Director.

He added: “While James is concentrating on his ministerial role, I will spend more time with the business. I will rely on support from Paresh Majithia, who becomes our Acting Group Managing Director, to pick up the detail normally overseen by James. We will trust our superb leadership team to run the day to day business, and to ensure that we continue to deliver James’s long term vision.” 

Paresh Majithia

Sir John describes Paresh Majithia as “an honorary member of the Timpson family” who has been finance director for over ten years, having previously worked as Group and UK Finance Director for UCI Cinemas and prior to that with Asda and Woolworths having qualified as a chartered accountant with PWC.

James Timpson posted on social media: “Thanks to everyone for their kind words about my appointment as the new government’s Prisons, Probation and Parole Minister. It’s a real privilege and I’m looking forward to improving the system for hard-working staff, turning more lives around and cutting crime.”

The rest of the company statement also reinforced the strength in the family with his grandsons Bede and Patrick working in the business, and James’s wife Roisin is a director of their hospitality business. 

Best known for shoe repairs and key cutting, the business also includes brands such as Max Spielmann, Johnsons The Cleaners, Snappy Snaps, Jeeves of Belgravia and The Watch Lab with over 2,000 stores and turnover exceeding £200m.

Sir John added: “We continue to trade at record levels and have a clear plan for the next three years. We are opening a lot more pods and in store supermarket sites, investing in key and photo vending machines, building a large Photo Warehouse on the Wirral, developing a new factory in London for Jeeves, and rebuilding Le Tremplin hotel in Morzine, France.  

“Finally, we have our principle of upside down management, which is consistently understood and appreciated by our colleagues and customers. It’s so powerful it got us through Covid, and made us more financially robust than ever before. 

James Timpson

“My priority is the continual development of our family business, and ensure it is run well while James carries out the role that the Prime Minister has asked him to do,” he said.

He said he was confident that, when James returns as CEO, “the company will be in an even stronger place than it is now.” 

James Timpson has taken a keen interest in prison related issues. He chaired the Prison Reform Trust for a while and founded an advisory board linking prisons with employers, sharing his extensive experience of working with ex-offenders and running workshops inside prisons.

Last year the Manchester-headquartered Timpson “bounced back” to post “record breaking” results according to chairman Sir John Timpson who said the present trading environment was tough and reminded him of the 1970s.