SUPERMARKET chain Iceland has sacked a top executive for insulting Welsh people - including called their ancient language "gibberish".

Iceland's corporate affairs boss Keith Hann, 66, was axed from his £102,000-a-year job after shoppers threatened to boycott the high street chain's Welsh stores in protest.

Mr Hann made a stream of anti-Welsh comments - even though the company's HQ is in Wales and it has thousands of Welsh workers among its 30,000 staff.

He said Welsh was "a dead language that sounds uncannily like someone with bad catarrh clearing his throat."

Mr Hann made the comments on a personal blog and later insisted he was joking - after activists threatened to boycott the frozen food giant over his remarks.


Newcastle-born Mr Hann deleted a tweet saying: "Inhabitants of the UK’s Celtic fringe loathe all visitors."

A blog post said: "I’d like to say that I have never left England, but regular attendance at an office about 800 yards inside Wales sadly precludes this.

“Still, I take pride in never visiting Scotland despite having a home within sight of the border."

Another Tweet said one "bonus" of lockdown would be that he wouldn't be "travelling from home in Cheshire to my office in Wales every day”.

Budget store Iceland, which is headquartered in Deeside, North Wales, at first said it was dealing with the matter "internally" and Mr Hann has apologised, saying the "humorous" views were all his own.

But later a spokeswoman for Iceland said: “Iceland has taken action in light of recent comments made by its director of corporate affairs, resulting in the dismissal of Mr Hann with immediate effect.

"We would like to reiterate that these comments in no way reflect the values or philosophy of our business. We are a proud Welsh company, with a long history of investment in communities across Wales, and apologise for any upset or offence caused.”

Father-of-two Mr Hann earlier said: "Iceland is proud to be one of the largest companies based in Wales, and a major investor and employer in the country."

He said all of the posts "were written by me in a personal capacity and are not endorsed by Iceland Foods or reflective of the company’s views.

"I would have hoped it was also obvious that all of these were written with humorous intent.”

Iceland earlier said: "Iceland is aware of comments made by our director of corporate affairs and the upset which these have caused.

"These comments are not reflective in any way of Iceland’s views or philosophy as a company, and were not made on the company’s behalf.

"We are proud to be based in Wales, as a major investor and employer in the country. The matter is being dealt with internally and we apologise for any upset or offence caused.”

Iceland stores in Gwent:

  • Abergavenny: Cibi Walk, Frogmore Street
  • Abertillery: High Street
  • Bargoed: Lowry Plaza, Hanbury Road
  • Blackwood: Market Place
  • Caerphilly: Cardiff Road
  • Cwmbran: Monmouth Walk
  • Ebbw Vale: The Walk, Ebbw Vale Retail Park
  • Monmouth: Agincourt Square
  • Newport: Commercial Street
  • Newport: Clarence Place
  • Newport: East Retail Park
  • Newport: Newport Retail Park, Spytty
  • Pontypool: Crowns Buildings, George Street