Business Forum with Keith Abel - 24 April 2014

‘Growing a Business. Building a Brand’ with Keith Abel (B 78-82)

On the evening of 24th April around 70 Rugbeians, together with their guests, gathered at the Cavalry and Guards Club in London for the latest in our series of Business Forums with Keith Abel, one of the founders of Abel and Cole, purveyors of organic fruit and vegetables.

In his own inimitable, engaging, entertaining and humorous way Keith told us how, following his days at Rugby and the failure to pass his bar exams, he started selling potatoes door to door in South London and subsequently to build the business and brand of Abel and Cole.

Keith entertained us with his description of how, from near disaster early on, the business grew and prospered to the point where he decided to sell it in 2007. Over time the business began to struggle and the company's bankers decided that a radical solution was required to try and get it back on track. Their solution was to hire Keith as a "company doctor" and they appointed him CEO. Over time the business started growing again with turnover reaching £65 million.

Following Keith's talk, we had a lively question and answer session after which, over a few glasses of wine, Rugbeians socialised and networked, with Keith being sought out by many of the assembled company. All-in-all a very successful evening, which we hope to repeat with another interesting guest at our next Forum in the autumn.