Family and colleagues are mourning the death of leading industry figure Michael Levene, who passed away on December 29.
Levene retired from the housewares industry in 2007 following the sale of William Levene Ltd to the Swiss-owned Diethelm Keller Group, and the renaming of William Levene as DKB Household.
Michael Levene took over the reins at William Levene from his father in the 1980s after successfully setting up and running a company in the record album compilation business, Arcade Records.
In 1986, he was one of the first pioneers of the use of the celebrity chef to endorse products, when he worked with Ken Hom to develop and endorse the William Levene range of woks – a relationship that continues with DKB to this day.
His purchase of Cole & Mason in 2002 was a bold step, and in 2005 he was behind the development and marketing of the Jamie Oliver Flavour Shaker, which became one of the industry’s best sellers across the globe.
Alongside William Levene, Michael Levene also set up and ran Best Direct in 1991 with his long-term friend and business partner Paul Marks. Best Direct became one of the early users of satellite TV, setting up two infomercial channels on Sky and Virgin Media.
In a statement, DKB said: “Michael Levene was a genuine entrepreneur with a constant appetite and enthusiasm for product innovation and marketing, fully understanding its great importance as a differentiator within the housewares industry.
“Over the years Michael has built up a huge international network of industry friends, colleagues and business associates, all of whom will be saddened to hear of his passing.”
A JustGiving website, www.justgiving.com/michael-levene, has been set up by his children Aaron and Lucy for donations in his memory to The Quiet Cancer Therapy Appeal.