Speech to Retiree

Appreciation of retiree’s contribution

A speech to retiree is a sincere appreciation of the retiree’s contribution to the Company. It is a celebration, and a fond farewell to a co-worker.  It is an emotional occasion and the speaker should use anecdotes to illustrate the retiree’s character and accomplishments.  If you are asked to present a speech honoring a retiree, make it memorable and respectful, with humor added, if it suits you and your retiring co-worker.  

Sample speech to retiree

The Best is yet to come!

When John Smith joined the ACME Company, black and white television had just arrived in Ireland and a new Liverpool pop group, called the Beatles, were top of the charts with a song called Hard Day’s Night.” 

Place in ACME Company history

When we look back on the history of the ACME Company, we find that different people featured in prominent ways at various times. JJ Doe, the founder, Jane Doe the award winning inventor and Philip Doe who saw the commercial potential for wholesaling Widgets. But the 1980s belonged to John Smith and it is my pleasure and privilege to pay tribute to this era. Everyone in this room, from our longest serving employee to our newest recruit has contributed to Acme’s success, but this talk is dedicated to John. 


John has steered the company through times of great change from the early days of helping out in the factory or assisting with sales and distribution. He was appointed General Manager in 1980, and over the following 20 years he would oversee many defining moments and major developments. 

(Here give a few examples of the metamorphosis in manufacturing, distribution and trading style, and the conviction and consistency with which the Brand Strategy was followed.) 

Personal qualities

John was firm, fair, and consistent-you knew where you stood with him and if you got a telling off, you most likely deserved it, and once said it was over and done with.

He was very good at encouraging initiative and cultivating team work and the company displayed tremendous entrepreneurial flair during the 1980s and 1990s. 

He was a good listener and delegator, it was as if he followed the maxim ‘The best way to keep power is to share it, and the best way to influence is to listen’.” 

Lessons for us

John didn't have any great business philosophy that I could discern-he just seemed to concentrate on getting the basics right. 

I guess that using your talents and leaving a legacy is something we all desire to do and John has succeeded in doing this. And yet he was almost self -effacing in seeking recognition for his achievements. One of the nice things I have heard said about John is that he is essentially the same person who joined The ACME Company all those years ago. 

ACME Company is a better place to be because of John’s efforts. Let’s hope we can all say that when our time comes. 

The Future

My final tribute is to say that such is the strength of the foundation that he has lain that I believe we can all face the future with confidence under Kevin’s leadership. (His successor) 

John, I have called my toast ’The best is yet to come’ and I hope that sentiment holds good for you personally, and for the company that bears your influence. Enjoy your retirement hobbies-golf, hill walking, travel and whatever new activities you turn to.

John is retiring from ACME Company, but there is a new world of business, leisure, and voluntary opportunities waiting. There are dozens of organisations who would value his talents and skills. 

Farewell speech to retiree

I know he is well prepared for this transition, having worked with a retirement coach over the last year. 

John, I’m reminded of the words of Horace the Roman poet... 

‘You have played enough, you have eaten and drunk enough, now is the time to depart’

Congratulations on a wonderful career, and best wishes for the next phase-it has been our pleasure to know you and to work with you. 

To yourself and Jane, I wish you long life, health, and happiness together.

The wheel has come full circle and it’s time to begin again. I said at the outset that Hard Day’s Night was top of the charts when you joined ACME, it’s been  ‘Long and Winding Road’ and now you've got a ’Ticket To ride’!”

Response of retiree

This is an example of a Speech to Retiree.  If you are the retiree go to the link in this paragraph for advice on how to create your own farewell words.

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