An MD/CEO with expertise in identifying and delivering rapid and sustainable profitable growth in FMCG Non-Foods Manufacturing, Retailing and e-Commerce.
2011-Date Consultancy – Managing Director
Contributed to development of an innovative ICT product, Wididi.com, an integrated solution to meet the demands of complex social/corporate communication.
- Presented ‘Wididi.com’ to new client opportunities including CSOA and NHS. The latter is still is progress, the former is now launched.
Managed the complete operation of Chucklemonster.com, from inception and fund raising through to launch of this e-Commerce personalised gift and greetings business.
- Conducted detailed market intelligence related to consumer need and competition.
- Designed and selected an e-commerce platform and developed site functionality.
- Built relationship with Everything Everywhere to take business model into mobile arena.
- Developed business plan and presented to PE/Angel Investors, securing £1.2m funding.
Advised US Investment Bank, Hellman & Friedman, on potential UK retail investment.
2005-2011 Europe’s largest private label manufacturer of non-food home goods.T/o £240m,
2010-11 Group Commercial Director
Offered an interim role on the Group Executive Board on return to the UK for family reasons.
- Identified the opportunity to enter the discount Greeting Card category.
- Launched ranges of ‘value-based’ greeting cards, 300 lines into Tesco and 100 lines into Asda, both rolled out to all stores.
- Launched trial range of value-based greeting cards into Dollar Tree (US) – 1200 stores.
- Established a Group e-commerce strategy and provided Tesco with a bespoke personalised greeting card site, leading expansion into other key UK grocery multiples.
- The greeting card business strategy became the lead initiative for International Greetings Plc, with potential to deliver 30% of group EBIT by 2016
2005-10 CEO – International Greeting USA – Based Georgia
Invited to create a cohesive business from acquisitions in the US.
- Identified the opportunity to expand from low volume niche customers to mass market.
- Prepared and obtained Parent Board approval for a new common corporate strategy.
- Developed products and marketing based on a European Heritage.
- Introduced discipline and processes to operate in the US mass channel private label market.
- Took personal control of opening up and leading all new business development activity with major US retail chains: Wal-Mart, Target, Dollar Tree, Home Depot, Lowes and BJs.
- Built a competent management team inc. ‘on-site’ sales directors for Walmart and Target.
- Achieved Seasonal Supplier of the Year Award from Target.
- Built sales from $35m to $100m in 4 years, turning marginal profits to $5m pa.
2003-2005 High Street Retailer of Greetings Cards and Sundry Items – T/o £140m 700 store Greetings Card Retail Chain – Trading Director
Recruited for a rapid turnaround and sale of a declining business for 3i.
- Reduced 30 publishers to 3, with unique terms, sale or return, guaranteed margin and marketing contribution, passing product catalogue management to suppliers.
- Established ‘Team Birthdays’ at lead supplier Hallmark to manage range planning.
- Created a joint strategy platform with core suppliers ensuring growth targets.
- Reduced costs by 50% and Brand and Marketing team headcount.
- Established separate ‘Cards Direct’ chain of 120 stores, generating cash from old stock.
- Re-launched the core business delivering 20% like for like growth in key categories.
- Packaged the business for sale and supported a £60m sale to West Coast Capital.
2000-2003 Greeting Cards Group – T/o £3bn Managing Director – Consumer Division – Appointed to integrate the creative, marketing and customer facing disciplines of the newly formed group of 6 UK companies – T/o £200m.
- Created clearly focused business strategy based on a single brand platform that united four previously disparate independent businesses and sub-brands.
- Relocated all businesses into a new H.O., retained critical staff and recruited 60 new staff.
- Created the single largest design/creative centre in the UK with over 100 creative staff.
- Created one marketing and creative structure with 500 staff reduced to 240 staff.
- Managed with determination and sensitivity to cultural diversity, the complicated process of moving fiercely independent companies into one organisation.
- Maintained sales and profit growth throughout the entire transition.
1996-2000 Europe’s largest Printer & Gift Supplier – Managing Director – Marks & Spencer Division
Recruited on M&S recommendation to establish business with Marks and Spencer.
- Created new offices and recruited 10 staff initially.
- Focused on strategic planning, innovation and ability to enthuse and empower employees.
- Grew staff to 130 located in London, Brighouse and Hong Kong.
- Identified and managed the acquisition of Tigerprint Ltd from PE owners, becoming the sole supplier to M&S in greetings products, kids products and stationery categories.
- The business became a model across the M&S supply chain and was used on repeated occasions as a training centre for other suppliers looking to upgrade their ability.
- Built sales to £45m pa and profits to £9m pa.
- Participated in the flotation of part of Fine Art Group as Creative Publishing plc and its acquisition by Hallmark Cards, then assisted Hallmark to retain the M&S account.
1985-1996 T/o £300m Clothing and Toiletries Manufacturers.
1990-96 Sales & Marketing Director – Toiletries Division
Promoted on acquisition of a t/o £10m Toiletry Accessories business to merge with Lorien.
- Merged the sales, marketing and product development organisations – 45 staff.
- Became the primary category supplier to Superdrug and No.2 to Marks & Spencer.
- Built £3m export sales into major drugstore chains in Germany.
- Increased t/o from £25m to £30m and profits from £1.5m to £3m pa.
1987-90 Sales & Marketing Director – Lorien Laboratories
Promoted to implement own proposals to develop and supply products to Retailers.
- Built significant sales to M&S, Boots, Tesco, Superdrug and Safeway.
- Relocated to a purpose built new factory and office site – £7m investment.
- Converted the business from a contract filling manufacturer into a genuine ‘first choice’ private label manufacturer with blue chip multiples.
- Increased sales from £2m to £15m pa, achieving profits of £1.5m pa.
1986-87 Management Executive – Lorien Laboratories
Promoted to study this small contract filling acquisition and assist in building the business.
- Identified the opportunity to manufacture and supply products to Retail Chains.
- Prepared a business plan and obtained Company and Parent Board approvals.
1985-86 Graduate Trainee – Dewhirst Group
Recruited to work with the Sales and Marketing Director, servicing major Retailers.
- Received thorough training in sales planning, pricing, customer and supplier interfaces.
QUALIFICATIONS BA Hons – Durham University.
PERSONAL British. Divorced – adult children. Location flexible.