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UK family business chairman steps down

The chairman of one of the UK's most successful family companies is stepping down. Sir Ken Morrison (pictured) will retire as chairman and director of supermarket giant WM Morrison today after more than 50 years of working in the firm. The company was founded in 1899 by Ken's father, William Murdoch Morrison.

Morrison is being succeeded by Sir Ian Gibson, the current deputy chairman. "Sir Ken is the outstanding example of a truly great retailer," said Gibson. "His achievements in scale and length of service are remarkable. It is a privilege to take the role of chairman."

The board of directors paid tribute to Morrison through a statement. "We are proud to pay tribute to Sir Ken Morrison on his retirement from the company after 55 years of inspirational and dedicated leadership. During this time he has transformed Morrisons from a small, family business into the UK's fourth largest food retailer."
"Sir Ken has won the loyalty and admiration of employees throughout the business with his down-to-earth nature and belief in team work. A creator and builder with great passion and flair, his contribution to retailing has been invaluable and we owe him a great debt of gratitude for his life's work."

Morrison, who owns a large share of the firm, has accepted the position of honorary president. He declined to comment on how his departure will affect his shareholding.

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