Previous speaker profiles

2015

Danny Barrasso - UK Managing Director - New LookDanny Barrasso, UK Managing Director, New Look

Danny Barrasso is currently UK managing director of the fashion retailer New Look. Danny has been at New Look since August 2012 where he has been promoted to UK managing director from being the chief executive Anders Kristiansen’s executive assistant. Before that he was head of multichannel digital marketing and innovation at New Look.

Danny is delighted to return to Oxford Summer School to speak to emerging leaders in retail as he himself completed the Oxford Summer School Masters in 2014. His knowledge of the retail industry coupled with ambition and insight into becoming a retail leader will no doubt act as inspiring evidence for the emerging audience.

Prior roles include managing director at software business Knexus and a stint at Hilton Worldwide as senior director of ecommerce.

Alf Dunbar - Coach and Motivational Speaker - Creator of "You are the Difference"

The highly successful customer service coaching program “You Are The Difference”, is currently being used by a wide range of retail organisations in over 25 countries around the world in 10 different languages. In the mid 1990s, Alf was the franchisee of a retail business struggling to survive. Faced with ever mounting debt and the real prospect of losing the business he set out to develop a new way forward in terms of customer service and management to turn the business around. The result was the creation of his unique customer service coaching programme.

Today he conducts more than 100 coaching sessions, seminars and conference events a year for a large variety ofcompanies in the UK, Ireland and Europe. Alf is a practitioner not a theorist. His coaching methods are based on the real world with real people. His unique and enthusiastic communication skills inspire people, which in turn enhance their individual performance. Alf seeks to raise people’s level of self-belief and confidence. With over 12 years as a top performance coach he has personally coached thousands of people from a wide variety of retailing backgrounds helping them to achieve exceptional results from their business.

Jane Leadbetter - Learning and Development Manager - McArthurGlen

Jane Leadbetter specialises in management development and sales and service. Her career has spanned the retail industry in high street and luxury brands. She began her career in sales, advancing to retail management and holding senior roles in HR.

Jane currently works for McArthurGlen designer outlets. Prior to this she worked for the London based store Liberty, and Harrods, one of the world’s best known department stores for luxury goods and service excellence.

Her book, 'Sales & Service Excellence' is based on her experience and results in creating and sustaining a sales and service culture.

Jane holds a Masters degree in Human Resource Management and is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development. She is a visiting lecturer for the CIPD and the Postgraduate Management Programme. 

Patrick Marr - Co-owner - Leading Edge Coaching Ltd.

Patrick is an international personal and team coach for the senior leadership of many household names such as MARS, Royal Canin, AkzoNobel and Merlin Group. He leads a team of over 20 consultants to coach, develop, train and engage delegates worldwide in retail, hospitality, FMCG and manufacturing businesses.

Patrick built his reputation as an expert in coaching whilst working for B&Q, as a General and Regional Manager. He has led teams of in excess of 2,500 people and won B&Q’s Manager of the Year award when his region’s employee engagement, which was measured by Gallup’s Q12, rose above all others. This prompted him to qualify as a Life Coach and Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) Master Practitioner and then to leave corporate life to pursue his dream of starting his own leadership development business.

Leading Edge deliver leadership and engagement programmes to retailers including Schuh, Travis Perkins, Halfords, Cath Kidston, Levi’s, Next and Harrods

Annie Murphy - Trading Director - Boots Ltd.AssetAltText

Annie has enjoyed a very successful career working for some of the world's leading consumer businesses in a career spanning over 20 years. She has gained unique experience in senior positions in both the retail and consumer brands sectors. Starting her career with Tesco during their dynamic transformation in the early 90's, Annie then held senior commercial leadership roles in PepsiCo and P&G including international assignments. She was the MD of the Birds Eye business transforming the performance of an iconic British brand. She joined Boots in 2011, and is now Commercial Director working as part of the UK Executive Team and the Walgreens Boots Alliance Global Brands organisation.

“I have been very fortunate in my career to work for people who have been highly committed to developing talent. I wouldn't be where I am without them. I share this passion and enjoy nothing more than helping people realise their potential in our exciting and dynamic industry”.

2014

Peter Scott - Managing Director - Carphone Warehouse, Ireland

Peter Scott was appointed Managing Director of Carphone Warehouse Ireland in July 2012 following roles as General Manager along with Sales and Marketing Director; he also sits on the UK and Ireland Executive Board.

Previously he was Retail Operations Director for Arnotts (Ireland’s largest Department Store) where he was heavily involved establishing Arnotts reputation within the wider Retail Industry.

Peter has over 30 years experience working with a number of Blue chip companies including Marks and Spencer, Arcadia Group and BHS. He has held roles covering Store Operations; HR; Visual Merchandising; Layout planning and Brand Development.

He oversaw the expansion of the Ann Summers and Knickerbox brands adding over 100 stores in 3 years; establishing the business as a retail mainstream player.

Darren Blackhurst - Commercial Director - B&Q 

Darren has over 24 years experience within international retailing. He joined Tesco from University in 1988, and spent 17 years in various roles from buyer to Category Director to Commercial Director. In 2002 he became Executive Commercial Director on the Board of Tesco Lotus in Thailand. Darren joined Asda’s Executive Board in 2006 as Food Trading Director and was promoted to Executive Group Trading Director (CMO) for Asda in 2008. 

In May 2011 he took up the role of Matalan CEO and has recently moved to B&Q where he is currently Commercial Director.

Alf Dunbar - Coach and Motivational Speaker - Creator of "You are the Difference"

2013

Jo Walker - Managing Director - The Perfume Shop

A previous Academy and Masters' delegate herself, Jo joined The Perfume Shop in September 1992 as the Store Manager of one of the first ever Stores in Birmingham. She was quickly promoted to Area Manager in 1993 and over the next 8 years progressed to Operations Manager and subsequently Operations Controller. In 2001 Jo was appointed Retail Operations Director and in May 2006 after TPS was acquired by AS Watson to Trading Director. Jo has been an absolutely fantastic TPS success story and after movement within AS Watson, was appointed to Managing Director and since then has continually added to the success of the business as it grows from strength to strength.
Perfume Shop CV
1992 – Store Manager, Birmingham
1993 – Area Manager, West Midlands
1998 – Operations Manager
2001 – Retail Operations Director
2006 – Trading Director
2008 – Chief Operating Officer
2009 – Managing Director

Alf Dunbar - Coach and Motivational Speaker

Creator and founder of the highly successful customer service coaching program “You Are The Difference”, which is currently being used by a wide range of retail organisations in over 25 countries around the world in 10 different languages. In the mid 1990s, Alf was the franchisee of a retail business struggling to survive. Alf seeks to raise people’s level of self-belief and confidence. With over 10 years practical retail experience and 12 years as a top performance coach he has personally coached thousands of people from a wide variety of retailing backgrounds helping them to achieve exceptional results from their business. Further details : www.youarethedifference.co.uk

Darren Blackhurst - CEO - Matalan 

Darren has 24 years’ experience within International retailing. He started his career when he joined Tesco in 1988 from University. After spending over 17 years with Tesco in various roles from buyer to Category Director to Commercial Director. Darren joined Asda Executive Board in 2006 as Food Trading Director and was promoted to Executive Group Trading Director (CMO) for Asda in 2008. Darren became Matalan CEO in May 2011. He owns a 1967 VW Camper Van, enjoys time with his kids, plays the guitar and supports Manchester City.

Patrick Marr - Managing Director - Leading Edge

Patrick is passionate about people, he founded Leading Edge in 2005 following a successful career as a leader in retail. He set out on a mission to support others to make a difference to the teams they lead by leveraging their natural strengths and to create a learning and development business that acts in true partnership. Leading Edge are a Principal Sponsor of the Oxford Summer School Foundation level.

Jane Leadbetter - Interim Learning & Development Manager - McArthurGlen Group

Jane is currently interim Learning and Development Manager at McArthurGlen Group but is an independent consultant working in the retail sector.
Prior to independent consulting she worked for a number of leading high street and luxury brands including Harrods. There she combined her knowledge of sales and management development to design and implement a leadership programme that drove sales and service, contributing to the success of the business.
She is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development and visiting lecturer at the London Metropolitan University.

2012 

Toni Eastwood OBE -  Director of Academy and Talent from Wm Morrisons

Toni has over 23 years’ experience working in business and organisational development, designing and delivering learning and development solutions. She has specialist experience in developing and implementing interventions to support leadership and management development, and for the last ten years, diversity and women in the workplace. A regular contributor to TV, radio and press, Toni has published research into the issues and barriers surrounding ‘The Glass Ceiling’, women in non-traditional sectors and social inclusion. In 2007 Toni was recognised in the New Year’s honours list with an OBE for her contribution to Equal Opportunities.

Darren Blackhurst - CEO of Matalan

Darren has 24 years’ experience within International retailing. He started his career when he joined Tesco in 1988 from University. After spending over 17 years with Tesco in various roles from buyer to Category Director to Commercial Director. Darren joined Asda Executive Board in 2006 as Food Trading Director and was promoted to Executive Group Trading Director (CMO) for Asda in 2008. Darren became Matalan CEO in May 2011. He owns a 1967 VW Camper Van, enjoys time with his kids, plays the guitar and supports Manchester City.

Philip Hesketh -  Motivational speaker

Philip Hesketh is a professional speaker on ‘The Psychology of Persuasion and Influence’. He combines a powerful mix of well researched, persuasive techniques with a unique brand of humour. He inspires, entertains and informs on buying, selling, persuading and influencing work. He is inspirational, motivational and thought provoking and gives ‘can-use-today’ techniques to be more influential. More details:  www.heskethtalking.com

Patrick Marr -  MD of Leading Edge

Leading EdgePatrick is passionate about people, he founded Leading Edge in 2005 following a successful career as a leader in retail. He set out on a mission to support others to make a difference to the teams they lead by leveraging their natural strengths and to create a learning and development business that acts in true partnership.  Leading Edge are a Principal Sponsor of the Oxford Summer School Foundation level.

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