To the arts world he is still some kind of accountant from hell; to the City he is a miracle worker. Perhaps it's the effect of his charm but no one seems clear, says Andrew Davidson, how Granada's chief achieved the group's dramatic turnaround.
Gerry Robinson walks on water, they say in the City. It should be pointed out that this might be a rather unfortunate description for the son of a carpenter who once trained to be a priest, but the Granada Group chief executive has his fans and his turnaround of the sprawling television and catering conglomerate certainly speaks for itself. In 1991, the year he replaced Derek Lewis (now running the prison service), Granada posted a pre-tax loss of £110 million on a turnover of £1.4 billion. Last year it was a profit of £265 million on a turnover of £2 billion. With figures like these, Robinson's band of devoted stockbroking followers are prepared to believe he regularly flies to the moon and back as well.