Former Tesco boss Sir Terry Leahy took to the stage at World Jewish Relief’s (WJR) annual business breakfast last week to talk about Tesco’s Jewish market trader founder Jack Cohen, writes Stephen Oryszczuk.

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(L to R) – Dan Reinhold, Business Breakfast Committee, John Bennett, WJR Trustee, Laurence Gergel, Business Breakfast Committee Chairman, Sir Terry Leahy, Paul Anticoni, Chief Executive, James Libson, Chairman, Andrew Lobb, Business Breakfast Committee, Sidney Myers, Business Breakfast Committee, Richard Frank, WJR Trustee

Cohen was the Whitechapel-born son of Polish immigrants who, in 1919, established himself on a market stall in Hackney before going on to expand and set up Tesco in 1924.

In an event that raised over £90,000 for WJR, Leahy used Cohen’s example of building the brand to discuss the fundamental concepts an organisation should have and what makes a strong leader.

More than 230 guests heard Leahy speak about the three biggest business risks he’d taken, which included his decision to launch the Tesco Clubcard.

Laurence Gergel of the WJR Business Breakfast Committee said: “This event is a fantastic opportunity to combine philanthropy and networking for individuals and companies in the business world,” adding that he felt extremely privileged to have had Sir Terry attend the group’s event.

Leahy himself paid tribute to WJR, praising the “considerable and sustained support” it gave to isolated and vulnerable communities around the world.

Photo credit: Blake Ezra Cole