What leaders think
As we move forward from the pandemic and look to the future, what business opportunity most excites you?
Understanding how consumer habits, needs and desires have or have not changed in the ‘new normal’ so we can continue to ensure our brands can serve today’s consumers better. Get it right and it could drive consumer delight and business growth.
How has your business changed in the approach to equality, diversity & inclusion and how will you build upon this going forward?
It all starts with inclusion: ensuring, enabling, and encouraging each of our employees to bring their best and authentic ‘self’ to work, and then continuing to drive equality and diversity across our broad geographic footprint of businesses and at all levels.
With sustainability and ESG being more prevalent on the Board agenda, what is your business doing to meet net zero carbon emission targets by 2050, if not earlier?
We have recently appointed our first Chief Sustainability Officer, Joanna Gluzman, to help lead us on the journey to our declared goal of becoming a certified B Corp – something no other FTSE 250 business has achieved. One of Joanna’s first jobs is a review of our sustainability commitments and strategy, including emissions targets…so watch this space!
Given the important part that technology has played in all sectors during the pandemic, how do you envisage technology developing in your organisation going forward?
Technology is and will be even more so a critical driver of our business, internally and externally. Looking outside, technology will continue to fuel our e commerce and digital marketing efforts, providing us with deeper consumer insights. Looking inside, technology is helping us improve the effectiveness and engagement of employees, increase our use of Cloud-based solutions thereby enabling smarter working and, in the future, we will use more AI tools to strip out the many of the mundane tasks of today.
Christmas and New Year last year was a challenge for many families and friends. What are you planning for this year? And with the supply chain issues, how’s the Christmas prep proceeding?
At work right now it’s all about micro-managing the flow of sea containers and trucks to ensure our brands are on shelf and online when consumers are looking for them in the coming weeks. On the home front Christmas will be a multi-generational, multi-national affair, welcoming back those older generations and those living overseas who could not join us last year. Initial planning and excitement are already clear among some of the younger members of my family.
Who or what has inspired you recently? (They don’t need to be famous)
My daughters! Two of whom have just returned to or started at university after a really disrupted first year and the massive challenges of completing A levels. They’re both making the most of what university life has to offer, academically (I am led to believe!) and I suspect even more so socially.
Which book have you read recently and why would you recommend it?
I literally finished the final pages last night of ‘A Gentleman in Moscow’ by Amor Towles. It’s all about a Russian aristocrat confined to life imprisonment in a Moscow hotel by the Bolsheviks. I’d recommend it because it shows how determination and optimism can help open a whole new world despite the physical limitations of confinement.
What are you most looking forward to doing in 2022?
Travel. Personally, for sure, but also on business. I started my role during lockdown and have still not made it to any other country or even met all of my leadership team so I’m really looking forward to getting out into our markets, meeting employees and spending time understanding consumer habits and needs.
Any words of wisdom?
Very few! At a push I would offer up: Work hard; have fun. Be optimistic but determined.