Jump to content

The Entrepreneurial Exchange


Willie Haughey OBE, City Refrigeration www.city-refrigeration.co.uk 

Willie Haughey was born in the Gorbals in Glasgow in 1956. He served an apprenticeship as a refrigeration and air conditioning engineer.

After working abroad for two and a half years in the United Arab Emirates, in the early eighties, he returned to Glasgow and set up the company City Refrigeration in 1985. The company started its first year with 4 employees with a turnover of £100k.

After 1990, City Refrigeration expanded rapidly into the supply and service of Refrigeration and Catering Equipment, and also acquired an Air Conditioning Company.  In 1996 the Company purchased the equipment rental business of the Scottish Milk Marketing Board and grew City Refrigeration Rentals Limited into one of it's most successful divisions.

In 1994 3i the venture capital company took a 33% stake.  The finance from this sale helped the company grow from a £6m to £60m turnover in less than six years.  The company has now successfully negotiated to buy back the shares, 3i are very happy with their return on the investment and City have been delighted with them as investors.  After this transaction Willie and Susan Haughey will have a 98% stake in the company.

The biggest development in the Company's history was the decision to move into Facilities Management.  This rapidly growing market was ideally suited to City's history of service and skilled labour management.  After a trial period in Scotland and the North of England, City successfully won a ten year Facilities Management contract with Wal*Mart in 2001, covering all 260 ASDA stores throughout the UK. 

The Company is now divided into three divisions covering Technical Services, Rental/Sales and Facilities Management.  All three look to the future with great confidence, as they head towards a £300m turnover.

The company now boasts some of the largest companies in the world on its client base, i.e. Wal*Mart/Asda, Anheuser Busch, Arcadia, Stagecoach, Ladbrokes, Halfords and Coors to name but a few.  The company now delights in the fact it has over 10,500 employees.

They are very proud of the fact that they employ more recruits through "REMPLOY" than any other company in Britain, our commitment to training and up-skilling is the secret to our success

Outside of City Willie has many interests, he was a Director of Celtic Football Club plc for two and a half years from 1994 to 1997.

Willie also owns pubs and hotels and a property company in Scotland.

The Haughey family has set up a charitable trust that has donated over £3m to charity.

Chris Gorman OBE, Team Advisors, www.teamadvisors.co.uk

A serial entrepreneur, Chris Gorman has headed several highly successful ventures in technology and retail businesses. A founder shareholder in one of the UK's first nationwide mobile phone retailers, DX Communications, Chris then went on to create the innovative web services company, Reality Group. Several other investments followed and current business interests include a number of mobile and internet enterprises including GetFit Wellness, The Light Agency, Quintessentially, AWOMO, MyMart and Purple Lounge.  

Highly regarded, Chris has received many business awards for his entrepreneurialism over the years, including Ernst & Young Scottish Entrepreneur of the Year, UK E-Business Entrepreneur, Young Business Leader of the Year, Glenfiddich Spirit of Scotland in Business, and the laudable SBAAT Businessman of the Year Award.  

In June 2005 Chris was delighted to receive an OBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours list for services to business. 

Chris is a regular speaker at business events; he has featured in several business related TV shows; he lectures in schools and universities; has been awarded an honorary professorship in business at Paisley University and is also a Governor of the Royal Scottish Academy for Music and Drama.

Back to event

Venue information

No 29, Glasgow 29 Royal Exchange Square
G1 3AJ

0141 225 5615


Mr Chris Gorman OBE, Team Advisors


  • Mr Willie Haughey, City Refrigeration Holding (UK) Ltd

Show venue on a map.

Registered in Scotland. Company registration number SC160976.
Registered office: Barncluith Business Centre, Townhead Street, Hamilton, ML3 7DP. Developed by Mercurytide