Obituary: Bill Laird, a giant of wholesaling, dies at 54 (Updated)

It is with deep regret that we  announce that Bill Laird, MD of the Today’s Group, died peacefully in the early hours of Saturday morning (January 16, 2016) after a long illness, and aged just 54.

Bill spent his entire career within the grocery and retail sectors, initially working in store based management roles for Wm. Low and Asda Stores followed by various field management roles at Texas Homecare, Woolworths PLC and Somerfield Stores. He spent seven years at Midcounties Co-operative, being promoted from group general manager to chief operating officer where he led a sustained period of growth and business change before joining Nisa-Today’s as managing director of the Today’s Group.

Bill was instrumental in the de-merger from Nisa-Today’s and the formation of the Today’s Group in January 2012, creating Today’s Wholesale Services Ltd as a standalone wholesale Buying Group. During his time at the helm, he instigated many new initiatives, including the creation of a state of the art technology platform for the Group, the formation of an On-trade division last year and an interactive digital retail magazine.

In a statement, Today’s Group said today (January 18): “As well as being totally focused on the challenge of running the Group, Bill was always fiercely loyal to his staff and colleagues.

A genial Scot with a mischievous sense of humour, he will be greatly missed by his team in Doncaster, members of Today’s Group, the board of directors of TWS Ltd and all his many friends in the wider wholesale, retail and supplier community.

I am sure you will join us in passing our deepest sympathies to Bill’s wife Dawn, and their children, Alexander, Aletia and Emelia.  Funeral arrangements will be communicated in due course.”

John Schofield will continue in his current role as acting MD of Today’s Wholesale Services Limited. 

A book of condolence will be opened shortly on the Today’s Group corporate website, www.todays.co.uk, for anyone wishing to leave a message for Bill’s family.

The funeral will be held on Friday, February 5, 2016 at 12 noon at Cheltenham Crematorium, South Chapel, Bouncer Lane, Cheltenham  GL52 5JT.

The family has asked that if you are attending please RSVP to sally-ann.robinson@todays.co.uk by Friday January 29. 

 Donations in lieu of flowers can be made to Sue Ryder and/or Kate’s Home Nursing. A Just Giving page has been set up for both of these charities https://www.justgiving.com/Bill-Laird/   (Kate’s Home Nursing) and https://www.justgiving.com/BillLaird/  (Sue Ryder), they can also be accessed via The Today’s Group corporate website www.todays.co.uk.

We’ll have a full tribute to Bill Laird in the February issue of Wholesale News.

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