Malcolm Walker has generated around £13.6m from the sale of four million of his personal shares in UK frozen food retailer Iceland. The co-founder and executive chairman of the group revealed that he still controls 0.48% of the company in the shape of 1.65m shares.

His shares sold at 339.13p each before the share price slipped yesterday (20 December) to 325.5p. Responding to speculation that his action revealed a loss in interest in Iceland, Walker commented: “If I didn’t have faith in the company, I’d have sold the lot.”

“It’s not unreasonable to sell, is it?” he added, “I’ve held shares in the company for 30 years [and] as a founding director, there’s never a right time to sell. It’s nothing to do with not having faith in the company.”

A total interest of £4.5m is still retained in Iceland, in the form of executive share options and long-term incentive scheme shares.

Walker plans to become non-executive chairman during 2001, and only last week another management shuffle was finalised when it was revealed that ex-Booker chairman Stuart Rose, who abruptly left his CEO role last month, is to be replaced by Bill Grimsey in January.

So what will Walker spend his newfound windfall on? Not necessary an “expensive” Christmas, it seems as he insists: “I always buy my wife a nice present.”

To find out about Stuart Rose resigning as Chief Executive of Iceland Group plc, click here.