Speaker Profiles

MASTERS RETAIL EXPERTS 2019

Xuan Jin

Rohit Kumar

Solutions Architect - Alibaba Cloud

Rohit is a Computer Engineer by education. After graduating from National Institute of Technology in India, he worked for five years at Samsung Electronics in its Smartphone, smart devices and open source initiatives. Rohit completed his MBA from Oxford Saïd Business School. He was selected in Alibaba Global Leadership Program and has worked in Alibaba Group Headquarters in China in group's Alipay and AliExpress businesses. A firm believer in the philosophy that data is the new fuel, Rohit is currently working as a Solution Architect in Alibaba Cloud Europe helping western companies make best use of their big or small data while using the best practices/solutions developed by Alibaba Group in China.

Christian Verschueren

Dr. 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

CEO - Bathstore

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.

Gill Palfrey-Hill

Gill Palfrey-Hill

Director of People Development & Talent - Specsavers

Gill is a transformational HR specialist with a passion for creating high performing individuals and teams to drive business performance. Currently the Director of People Development & Talent at Specsavers, Gill has spent the last 25 years working with a variety of hospitality, travel, healthcare and retail businesses including B&Q and Thomas Cook. 

As a senior leader in Specsavers Gill leads a matrix function (of over 200 experts) across 3 international regions operating in 10 countries. Her role includes talent acquisition, talent succession and development, leadership development and L&D including apprenticeships.

Mark Wright

Mark Wright

Managing Director of Multichannel - Jack Wills

Mark joined Jack Wills in 2015 as E-commerce Director and was then promoted to Multichannel Director currently Managing Director of Multichannel responsible for stores in US, Asia and US and global E-commerce.

In the 4 years since Mark joined the fashion retailer, he has been responsible for driving customer experience and trading performance through all digital and physical space and used technology as an enabler with payment provision in all channels, In-store ordering, web chat and new communication platforms. He has been instrumental in leading Jack Wills to focus his team and introduce new ways of working to put the customer and customer insight at the heart of decision making.

His previous experience includes a wide range of roles at M&S including Head of UK Trading for M&S.com, plus Store Operations and field positions as both Store and Regional Manager. Mark sits on the Advisory Board for IMRG, Swedish AI company Apptus and continues to mentor a number of people in the retail industry.

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.

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.

Tony Lorenz

Tony Lorenz

Global Chief Marketing Officer - Havwoods

Tony is the Global Chief Marketing Officer of global timber floor specialist Havwoods. With over 20 years in strategic leadership roles Tony is a skilled brand strategist, business development and client director. He has been privileged to work with some of the of world’s top organisations all united in their conviction that good design is the catalyst to generating business success. Tony brings a unique combination of having worked on the 2D and 3D development of brands encompassing corporate identity, new product development, retail environments and wayfinding from the brand strategy, critically through to implementation.

Isabelle Collin-Lachaud

Prof. Isabelle Collin-Lachaud

Professor of Marketing - University of Lille, France

Tom leads the Business & Regulation team at the British Retail Consortium. The team covers a broad range of business cost and reputational issues including property, planning, regeneration, energy, transport, tax, business rates, crime, employment, diversity and risk and safety. The team works with retailers across the whole spectrum of membership to lobby government for improvements in the legislative and regulatory environments and in public service delivery.

Tom Ironside

Tom Ironside

Director - BRC

Tom leads the Business & Regulation team at the British Retail Consortium. The team covers a broad range of business cost and reputational issues including property, planning, regeneration, energy, transport, tax, business rates, crime, employment, diversity and risk and safety. The team works with retailers across the whole spectrum of membership to lobby government for improvements in the legislative and regulatory environments and in public service delivery.

Kyle Rowe

Kyle Rowe

Managing Director - Grenade®

Kyle is an experienced commercial director with retail and direct sales background. He is currently Managing Director at sports performance and energy brand Grenade®. The products have a huge following ranging from professional athletes, fitness enthusiasts and military personnel worldwide and are sold in over 100 countries.

Previously Kyle was the Group International Director for Holland & Barrett and covered 17 markets with over 800 retail locations. He has also held senior management positions at Ann Summers and Travelodge Hotels. He 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.

Katy Gotch

Katy Gotch

Business Development Director - Immediate Media

Katy currently leads the M&A and Strategy Development for Immediate Media, a special interest media organisation that publishes Radio Times, GoodFood, Gardeners World and leading Children’s and Crafting titles. Her role includes finding new ways to serve customers and monetise in an industry that is rapidly changing. She also has 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 Executive Officer - The Wine Society

Steve has more than 30 years of experience in retail. He has recently been appointed CEO of The Wine Society after working as Chief Commercial Officer at Clarks where he was responsible for the global business and for Supply Chain and Property. He has also held the position of 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.

Andrew McClelland

Andrew McClelland

Director - MCS

Andrew has been involved in digital commerce for over 20 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. MCS 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.  Andrew is also external Data Protection Officer for a number or retail and hospitality brands under The Data Project.

Lynne Jones

Lynne Jones

Senior Adviser, Editorial Policy - BBC

Lynne started in Radio on the Money Box programme, before moving to TV where she spent 15 years in News including outputting Business Breakfast and Deputy Editor of Working Lunch. She has also been an Exec Producer in Natural History and Childrens’; Deputy Editor & Editor of The One Show; and Editor of Crimewatch.

Lynne now advises on factual programmes ranging from Shop Well for Less & The Real Marigold Hotel, to We Are British Jews & Stephen Lawrence; The Murder That Changed A Nation; to Stacey Dooley Investigates: Fashion’s Dirty Secrets and Inside the Factory.

Peter Ward

Peter Ward

Chief Executive - UK Warehousing Association

Peter is currently Chief Executive of the UK Warehousing Association. He has over 30 years’ experience in international transportation, logistics and supply chain management; and is recognised as a principal of authority in global supply chains and logistics based on achievements at Director level with some of the world’s leading global logistics providers.

Peter has significant practical experience of international process design and network optimisation throughout Europe, Asia and North America; designing and delivering complex supply chain solutions in different logistics and client organisations worldwide, with an impressive history of multiple client cost and service benefits across various industry sectors.

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

Board Advisor and formerly Operating Partner, Sun European Partners LLP

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.

Mark Wright

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