5 March 2021

The Icarus of Bling

Gerald Ratner, Jeweller and corporate speaker

Gerald Ratner is the former CEO of the Ratners jewellery empire, and a corporate public speaker. As a young man, Ratner worked his way up the ladder of his family company, eventually turning it into the biggest jewellery chain in the world. And then, at the height of his powers, a single speech changed his fortune forever, and sent his life and his business into a downward spiral that took some years to recover from.

His story — and that infamous moment — is now the subject of business degrees the world over, and his name still trends on Twitter several times a year at moments of corporate blunder. This is one of the most interesting episodes we’ve had in a while — a true rollercoaster of a story, told by a born entrepreneur whose colourful career has come to be defined by just a few words. With his famously deadpan sense of humour, Ratner talks us through the meteoric rise of the Ratners Group, the morning leading up to that speech, and why, if you want to get something done, it sometimes pays to impersonate a police officer.

This episode has been recorded at Mark's Club, read by Joseph Bullmore and produced by Martin Lumsden.

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