Speaker Profiles

MASTERS RETAIL EXPERTS 2019

Dr. Christian Verschueren

Christian Verschueren

Director-General - EuroCommerce

Since July 2011, Christian has been the chief spokesperson for the European retail and wholesale sector. He leads a team of 20 to coordinate major advocacy and communication activities at the EU level. Before joining EuroCommerce, Christian occupied various management and leadership positions at ACE, the alliance for the beverage carton industry, CropLife International, the global federation of the plant science industry and leadership positions at FEDESA and COMISA (now IFAH–Europe and IFAH), the European and global associations for the veterinary pharmaceutical industry.

A keen believer in the importance of pursuing the global Sustainable Development Goals, he is a Board member at Natagora, the main nature conservancy organisation in Belgium, and also an ambassador of WWF Belgium

Chris Brook-Carter

Chris Brook-Carter

Managing Director - Marketing Week

Chris is the Managing Director of Retail Week - the most influential media brand in UK retail – and the World Retail Congress, the single biggest gathering of global retail’s leadership each year. Chris has led these brands, as editor in chief or more recently as MD for seven years, transforming the business from a weekly print title, into a digital-first and global events brand that continues to sit at the heart of global retail by delivering on its mission to inform, connect and inspire the leaders that continue to colour this great sector.Chris is the Managing Director of Retail Week - the most influential media brand in UK retail – and the World Retail Congress, the single biggest gathering of global retail’s leadership each year. Chris has led these brands, as editor in chief or more recently as MD for seven years, transforming the business from a weekly print title, into a digital-first and global events brand that continues to sit at the heart of global retail by delivering on its mission to inform, connect and inspire the leaders that continue to colour this great sector.

Ian Herrett

Ian Herrett

Retail Expert

Ian is currently CEO at Bathstore the largest specialist bathroom retailer in the UK. Prior to this role Ian led the Branch Operations team at Wolseley UK (Part of Ferguson PLC), with responsibility for the 600 UK sites, and the William Wilson merchant business in Scotland. Prior to working at Wolseley, Ian’s career spanned 15 years at Marks and Spencer (taking in Store Management, Food Buying, Sales Management and major change programmes), and 13 years at Kingfisher PLC [in B&Q], where role highlights included Senior Operational Leadership roles, forming the ‘new’ TradePoint merchant business, and serving as the Commercial & Business Development Director on the B&Q board.

Matt Chambers

Matt Chambers

Former Global Head of Customer Experience - Dufry

Matt is the former Global Head of Customer Experience at Dufry (previously World Duty Free). He is an innovative business leader with over 20 years’ experience in retail, media, property and luxury goods. Matt’s career has included roles both in the UK and overseas for privately owned companies and major PLC’s. He has also held senior Director roles at Capital & Regional and House of Fraser. Matt is also an honorary Professor of Global Branding and Marketing at Glasgow Caledonian University.

Tracey Hobbs

Tracey Hobbs

Producer - Broadcast Media

Tracey has over 35 years experience in Broadcast Media. She joined BBC Radio in 1980, working on programmes including Today and Newsbeat. After a stint in charge of the business output on BBC World TV and the News Channel she took over as editor of BBC Two’s award winning Working Lunch programme, a post she held for 10 years.

Since setting up her own production company in 2010, she has been making business programmes and documentaries for CNN International and BBC World.

David Jeary

David Jeary

Consumer Analyst - Progressive Equity Research

David has worked in the City as an equity analyst for over 20 years, covering primarily the UK General Retailers sector, but also the wider pan-European Retail sector. He worked for the investment banks UBS Warburg, Credit Suisse, Investec, and Canaccord Genuity across his career. He now works as a Consumer Analyst at Progressive Equity Research, which operates on a paid-for research model and whose clients are primarily within the Small- and Midcap market sectors. Prior to joining the City, he worked as a management consultant at Management Horizons and Price Waterhouse on a wide range of projects to improve sales and profitability for UK and international retailers.

Tom Ironside

Tom Ironside

Director - BRC

David has worked in the City as an equity analyst for over 20 years, covering primarily the UK General Retailers sector, but also the wider pan-European Retail sector. He worked for the investment banks UBS Warburg, Credit Suisse, Investec, and Canaccord Genuity across his career. He now works as a Consumer Analyst at Progressive Equity Research, which operates on a paid-for research model and whose clients are primarily within the Small- and Midcap market sectors. Prior to joining the City, he worked as a management consultant at Management Horizons and Price Waterhouse on a wide range of projects to improve sales and profitability for UK and international retailers.

Kyle Rowe

Kyle Rowe

Managing Director - Grenade

Kyle is an experienced commercial director with retail and direct sales background. He was previously Group International Director for Holland & Barrett covering 17 markets with over 800 retail locations. Focused on driving new and existing international markets through franchise, wholesale, JV and e-commerce through the Holland & Barrett brand and its sub brands, Kyle is also responsible for all owned operations internationally and M&A activity. Previously, Kyle has held senior management positions at Ann Summers and Travelodge Hotels and has worked closely with private equity firms including being part of the sale side team of H&B in 2017 that saw Letter 1 Retail acquire H&B from Carlyle for £1.8bn.

Stephen Ashton

Stephen Ashtont

Director - Bisham Consulting

Stephen has a broad range of experience in supply chain strategy and implementation. He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and a Director of Bisham Consulting. He spent 10 years in DHL and Gist respectively, in a range of executive roles for organisations in the UK, Europe and Asia. This was followed by two spells in retail management as Head of Supply Chain Development for Marks and Spencer and Head of Logistics for Dunnes Stores. Prior to joining Bisham Consulting, Stephen held a number of board roles for the Unipart Group in both consumer and technology logistics.

Dr Alan Treadgold

Dr Alan Treadgold

Partner - PA Consulting

Alan is a Partner in PA Consulting, where he heads the firm’s work in retail. His work focuses especially on go-to-market strategy and approaches for retailers and brand owners to delivering growth in environments of disruption. He has worked in most sectors of retail and in many geographies throughout his career. He has held senior positions in business schools, strategy consulting practices and leading advertising agencies in Europe, the US and the Far East. He is a member of the Advisory Board of the Oxford Institute of Retail Management at Said Business School and a regular speaker at the World Retail Congress. He is the author, with Prof. Jonathan Reynolds, of “Navigating the New Retail Landscape: A Guide for Business Leaders”, published by Oxford University Press in Summer 2016.

Amanda Poole

Amanda Poole

Director - Partners in Retail

Amanda is a retail consultant who specialises in strategic evaluation, market entry assessment and business plans. Her experience ranges across retail and consumer related sectors: from corporate to government; financial services to charities. 

Amanda is an Associate Fellow of the Saïd Business School and a Director of Partners in Retail a specialist retail consultancy she co-founded in 2004.

Andrew McClelland

Andrew McClelland

Director - Mirador Digital

Andrew has been involved in digital commerce for over 15 years and having held senior roles, including Managing Director, at e-Retail trade body IMRG, has a unique insight into the development of online retail, changing consumer trends and the challenges that incorporating a digital offering into a more traditional retail proposition presents. Mirador Digital was founded to work with clients to develop and deliver strategic planning and review for digital channels, with particular focus on developing cross border opportunities.

Katy Gotch

Retail Strategy Director

Katy is a retail strategy director with 20 years’ of senior management and consulting experience in leading multi-channel UK retailers. Katy brings an independent analytical mindset, commercial intuition and customer-led thinking to galvanise organisations behind trial & delivery of new strategies.

Her career started as a consultant with Bain & Company, before specialising in multi-channel retail strategy with Javelin Group. She then joined Dixons Retail and ran and re-launched thelink.co.uk, an online mobile phone retailer, before working for over 5 years as an independent retail strategy consultant for clients including Boots, Sainsburys and White Stuff. Katy then spent time as Director of Strategy and Customer Experience at Argos.

She is also a member of the Advisory Board for the Oxford Institute of Retail Management and Ambassador for Retail Week Be Inspired Campaign.

Steve Finlan

Steve Finlan

Chief Commercial Officer - Clarks

Steve has more than 30 years of experience in retail. Steve is currently Chief Commercial Officer at Clarks with responsibility for the global business and for Supply Chain and Property. Most recently, he was Director of International Operations at Marks and Spencer and a member of the Management Committee. He spent 5 years as Divisional Director of Retail with responsibility for all M&S stores and General merchandise Operations. Prior to Marks and Spencer, roles included MD of Sales at Thomas Cook and SVP of HR at Gap. He has extensive experience of global retail, supply chain and omni-channel operations.

Rupert Eastell

Rupert Eastell

Partner and Head of Retail - RSM

Rupert is Partner and Chair of the Retail Group at RSM. From 1996 – 2002 he trained with Ernst & Young and worked in Bristol, Boston and London with a focus on entrepreneurial businesses, latterly on consumer markets. He spent two years as National Head of Internal Communications working directly for the UK Managing Partner, becoming a partner in 1996 and Head of the Mid-Market Consumer Products team in 2000. In 2003 he became Head of Retail at BDO and created a team that was soon recognised as experts in the retail sector. Over the past 20 years he has advised the Boards of many retail businesses, including Specsavers, The White Company, BHS and Ted Baker. Rupert is a passionate believer in finance being about people and the business, not just the numbers!

Martin Clifford-King

Martin Clifford-King

Owner - Stylecroft

Martin has spent the last 25 years working with a wide variety of consumer businesses. Most recently he was an Operating Partner with the private equity firm Sun European. Prior to this role, Martin ran his own business for 9 years providing Interim CFO services to clients in retail, restaurant, healthcare and gaming sectors including Wiggle, Clinton Cards, The Practice, Office Shoes, HobbyCraft, Whistles and Costa Coffee. Previous jobs include CFO at MFI Furniture Group PLC, FD at Harveys Furnishings PLC (both listed on the London Stock Exchange) and 9 years in various positions at Debenhams and the Burton Group. He trained as a Chartered Accountant with Deloitte, Haskins & Sells and holds a BSc in Chemistry and Mathematics from the University of Southampton.

Mike Hawes

Mike Hawes

Vice President Global Organisational Development - Avis Budget Group

Mike is currently working in one of the most challenging arms of retail, car rental. As the Vice President Global Organisational Development for Avis Budget Group, his role involves developing all the key people levers that drive engagement and performance which includes learning, leadership development, assessment, talent management and innovation culture. Mike started his career in retail at Asda and then Staples, before holding people development roles across the leisure, hospitality and energy sectors with businesses such as The Rank Group, Eurostar, British Gas and Centrica. He fondly looks back at his days of ‘big box’ retailing with B&Q where he spent 5 years running various elements of the people function across the 30,000 strong employee organisation.

Alan Giles OBE

Alan Giles OBE

Non-executive Director - Competition & Markets Authority

Alan is a non-executive director of the Competition & Markets Authority and Perpetual Income & Growth Investment Trust PLC. Alan has extensive retail sector experience, having been Chairman of Fat Face from September 2006 until July 2013. Earlier in his career he formed HMV Group as Chief Executive in 1998 as a leveraged buy-out and led the Group through its London Stock Exchange IPO in 2002 before retiring from the Group in September 2006 to develop a portfolio of non-executive and teaching roles.

In January 2018 Alan was awarded an OBE for his services to UK Business and the Economy.

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