back to article Maplin Electronics CEO ups stakes for steak house

Maplin CEO Oliver Meakin has quit the troubled geek emporium to run the Gaucho Group, a chain of Argentinean steak houses. Meakin took the helm at the Brit electronics retailer in August 2015, a little more than a year after current private equity owner Rutland Partner bought the company for £85m. “Oli has been instrumental …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    He said he wanted a role he could really sink his teeth in.

  2. Naselus

    rat, sinking ship, etc

    As title

  3. tiggity Silver badge

    Any Golden goodbye?

    or over inflated pension pot or similar to send him on his way (& further send Maplin into the red) whilst the shop workers wonder if this week is P45 week?

    1. Davegoody

      It's a crying shame......

      Maplin (though horribly overpriced sometimes) have been a source for quick and easy electronic components since I was a kid (and I am an old-fart now). Of course, if you can afford to wait, then ordering from Tat Bazaars such as FleaBay etc is infinitely cheaper, but for convenience you can't beat Maplin on the high-street.

      Over recent years the quality of their staff, and their competitiveness has improve immeasurably, and it will be a real shame for this remnant of my childhood to go the same way as Tandy / Radio Shack did, though I can't see it NOT happening now, it's almost a foregone conclusion.

      1. Bob Vistakin

        Re: It's a crying shame......


        Almost word for word what I was about to write. The B&Q of electronics. Have an upvote.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: It's a crying shame......

          "The B&Q of electronics. Have an upvote."

          No need to be rude about Maplin like that. B&Q have had customer service on the downhill run for years.

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: It's a crying shame......

        "I am an old-fart now"

        Not if you can remember then from your childhood. My original electronics shop had the owners Baird receiver on display.

  4. Dan 55 Silver badge

    Can I be a CEO in my next life?

    Electrical components and consumer electronics, stake houses, it's all the same.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Can I be a CEO in my next life?

      Yeah, from his linkedin profile pic, he looks like the classic maplin employee. Disappointingly, he's an old Etonian, Bristol uni, Social Science Economics and Politics (shame, and only Atilla honours). Then management consultancies, Somerfields (which was a great success), a restaurant chain or two, then maplins. So he has got a bit of restaurateur in him. Seems like a jack of all trades master of none to me. Possibly his talent is finding the escape pods, before he's jettisoned into the void of the cosmos.

    2. John H Woods Silver badge

      Re: Can I be a CEO in my next life?

      This is the supreme irony - they treat those down the bottom as interchangeable resources whereas it seems to me that the more senior you are, the less domain knowledge you need.

    3. Roq D. Kasba

      Re: Can I be a CEO in my next life?

      Use phrases like "differentiated technology retailer", and you can be.

  5. alain williams Silver badge

    Did he go before he got the chop ?

    Or was he after a different chop at the steak house ?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      El palacio de las Malvinas

      I heard that the last CEO of that chain of "Argentinean steak houses" got into trouble after he decided to distract hordes of angry shareholders away from his own failings by invading Falkland Palace in order to open a branch there without permission.

      It did not go well.

  6. commonsense

    So he's moving to a place which sells mediocre product at exorbitant prices? Sounds like the perfect fit.

  7. TWB

    Maybe Maplin will close this year, hopefully not just before Christmas which seems to be a 'popular' time for some of these big organisations.

    It'll be sad and I'll be sorry for the staff, but I cannot see how it can keep going with staff costs and high street rents and rates etc - there is only so much tat that people want to buy.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      One reason for Christmas being a 'popular' time for businesses to fail is that rents are due quarterly on legal Quarter Days, one of which happens to be December 25th.

      Awful timing for any staff effected.

    2. phuzz Silver badge

      They do sell tat, but they do also sell a bunch of other kit, mainly components, that people would want to buy if they weren't cheaper online.

      Mind you, when it's a choice between buying it from China via fleabay and waiting two weeks, or walking ten minutes down to Maplin and paying 120% of the price to get it now, well, then you have to decide how much you want that cable/converter/component etc.

      1. Kirk Northrop

        I think the problem is that if it was only 120%, that might be OK. £3.99 for 8 red LEDs. As in the bog standard cheapo red LED that's been around forever.

  8. Data Mangler

    Perhaps he's going to bring a whole new meaning to steak and chips. Flash fried, of course.

  9. Craig 2

    "differentiated technology retailer"

    Brilliant way to say "we sell tat nobody wants" (at inflated prices)

  10. djstardust


    Oli has been instrumental in the repositioning of Maplin as a differentiated technology retailer and the board and I would like to express our sincere thanks for his leadership

    Or as customer see it ......

    Oli has forced the business towards bankruptcy by charging obscenely high prices for cables and by filling the shelves with smart home guff and cheap Chinese crap nobody wants.


    1. SquidEmperor

      Re: Hmmmm

      "..Oli has forced the business towards bankruptcy by charging obscenely high prices for cables and by filling the shelves with smart home guff and cheap Chinese crap nobody wants..."

      THIS. I feel sad for the staff and support teams but I cannot see how Maplin can possibly survive. My most recent trip to Maplins (which was in the City btw - how can they afford the rent?) for a phone charger almost took my breath away. They seem to target distress buyers who are willing to pay a massive mark up for immediate satisfaction.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Hmmmm

        "They seem to target distress buyers who are willing to pay a massive mark up for immediate satisfaction."

        Yup, I'm a victim of that. Bought an OEM CPU by mistake, no heatsink/cooler. This was for a replacement home server - the existing of which had died spectacularly - so getting this new server up ASAP was top priority. Which is why it now has a £50 water cooler from Maplin.

        Which reminds me I really need to check the operating specs on that, it can't have a lot of life left in it being on 24-7 and if Maplin aren't there next time...

        1. Niall Mac Caughey

          Re: Hmmmm

          Definitely time to check.

          The bearings failed on the fan in my wife's graphics card. Perhaps I should say the graphics card in my wife's desktop PC; although she definitely has a very effective sound card.

          Anywhichway, I was near a Maplins, so I bought one of their white box fans. Lasted around 15 months.

        2. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip

          Re: Hmmmm

          From the looks of things you're paying very little, if any, premium over online for that. The hydro H60 currently appears to be considerably cheaper than online(!)

  11. PACEY

    Maplin is forever

    Oli is a former colleague of Gaucho's new chairman Paul Mason, who was chief executive of retailer Somerfield while Meakin was a strategy, business development and business systems director. He has also previously headed up Miller & Carter, a steakhouse under the Mitchells & Butlers umbrella.

  12. Aebleskiver

    RIP Maplins...

    At least one branch of Maplins I know has got rid of its electronic components inventory and now they have to order in from central warehouse for anything in that category, so it has turned into a shop stocking almost 100% tat. I used to remember going past the old Maplin HQ in Westcliff-on-Sea (where R&D and support were done too) and also loved popping into the Maplins Westcliff shop in the 1990s, but sadly it is now a shell of its former self...

    1. Ivan Headache

      Re: RIP Maplins...

      Yup. Went into my local Maplin just before Christmas looking a for something specific that I expected to find in a 'components' shop.

      But no - no components to be seen anywhere.

      1. Adrian 4 Silver badge

        Re: RIP Maplins...

        They've mostly moved the panels of wall space with hanging components into drawers. They're still there.

    2. Merchman

      Re: RIP Maplins...

      No Maplin store doesn't stock components. They may not be visible on the shop floor, or might be in a different location, but all stores stock components.

    3. Roq D. Kasba

      Re: RIP Maplins...

      There's practically nothing on the components front left - I got a 50p connector for £3 the other day because I needed it, but resistors, capacitors seem to be sold in multipack bags for £ouch too.

      They're taking the route of The Gadget Shop, to a similar event horizon I'm afraid.

  13. hatti


    Different type of chips

  14. Brad Ackerman

    Maplin isn't anywhere near as pants as Greggs, but a German invasion would still be welcome. Conrad would totally destroy them—if Maplin weren't already destroying themselves, that is.

  15. Dwarf Silver badge

    Must be a joke in here somewhere ...

    Perhaps the Steaks became to high at Maplin

  16. witchy

    Maplins saved my (non argentinian) bacon over xmas,

    as much as I take the piss over their pricing I've been surprised to use both local stores half a dozen times over the festives. It'll be a shame if they disappear.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My first job was at Maplin in the 90's

    Out of Uni with knowledge of electronics and computers, we had a great little store helping people fix these things. They were never going to sustain a retail outlet on components, so expanded into car audio, RC gear, computer components and more. Whilst they were never the cheapest or fully stocked, there were some real gems at good prices and special orders arrived within a day or two. This is before fast internet and ebay/amazon, so they had an edge.

    It's amazing to me it has survived so long, given how most electronics are unrepairable sealed units nowadays and kids have no interest in fixing or making stuff now.

    Hobbyist makers use arduino or raspberry pi kit - Maplin should have been all over this as a retail hobbyist supplier but they missed the boat completely. This was always their problem - led by incompetant management at the top.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You know something is wrong when its cheaper to buy a scanner (free Cable) from PC World than it is to buy a single USB cable from Maplin.

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