Nils Pratley, Guardian newspaper economic editor said: "The truth about this once great British company is that it chose to step on the accelerator at exactly the wrong moment. An established strategy of modest, bolt-on acquisitions was abandoned in favour of a bid for global leadership in building supplies. The deals got bigger, and the debt piled up, to £2.7bn."
"In the old days managers at Wolseley always remembered that they were running an inherently cyclical business. Now, for the first time in its 100 years, Wolseley finds itself appointing an outsider, Ian Meakins, to re-establish principles that should never have been forgotten," said Mr Pratley.