January 28, 2019 – U.K.-headquartered specialist retail executive search firm Retail Executives Limited has expanded with the addition of Matthew Parry as partner.
Having started his career in the U.K. retail sector, Mr. Parry joined an international executive recruiter to help launch their retail business. He subsequently joined international search firm Connected Group to head its consumer practice in the Middle East. On his return to the U.K., he joined Dixons Retail and was responsible for the appointment of both board and senior executives during one of the country’s leading retail turnarounds. He has since worked with search firms such as Barracuda Search, the Miles Partnership, Norman Broadbent and Stonehaven International in appointing their boards and senior leadership teams.
In his new role with Retail Executives Limited, Mr. Parry’s main focus with be on expanding the retail executive search, covering all areas of retail, hospitality and leisure in the C-suite and board recruitment.
In addition, Retail Executives Limited added Jean-Pierre (JP) Gadsdon and Jane Carver commence as associate directors.
Mr. Gadsdon has a long history in talent acquisition, working with some of the U.K.’s leading retailers and hospitality brands, working for George at ASDA, then moving on to FatFace, Carluccio’s and River Island.
Ms. Carver trained in retail buying with Arcadia Group and Etam. With 11 years agency recruitment under her belt, she moved to in-house search to lead the talent teams of Calvin Klein, Jaeger and Clarks, where she specialized in growing and developing their direct talent acquisition strategies, executive recruitment and partnering with the people teams to support their retention and succession planning both across the U.K. and Europe.
“Matthew brings to the firm a wealth of invaluable experience of not just executing senior board levels roles but acquiring and retaining client and candidate relationships,” said Richard Hollister, managing partner of Retail Executives Limited. “Matthew has the same ethos as the rest of the team in making this the No.1 retail executive search firm and being candidate focused. Matthew will build up a team of highly skilled recruiters to grow the firm.
“I would like to welcome Matt, Jane and JP to Retail Executives,” said Darren Topp chairman. “Richard is building a world-class team as we look to build the retail executives business with our clear candidate focused strategy which delivers the very best talent to our clients.”
Retail Executives Limited was formed in 2018 by Mr. Hollister, a veteran of the recruitment industry. The firm, which employs senior fashion and retail executives, said it will be announcing additional hires over the coming weeks.
Retail Executives recently announced the launch of its retail advisory division, REAN, the Retail Executives Advisory Network. Headed by Sarah Curran-Usher MBE. Other recent hires include Sarah Gillett, an experienced human resources director within the retail and hospitality sectors, who has been appointed non-executive director.
Challenges Facing the Retail Sector
Retailers are facing major shifts in their businesses that call for “unprecedented responses” by CEOs who can effectively lead through change, intuitively and analytically understand the evolving consumer and respond to ambiguity, according to search consultants. Developed markets, excess retail capacity, rising prices, the shift to omni-channel retail and the unpredictable pace of change in consumer shopping habits all affect the type of leader that retailers need.
According to search firm Herbert Mines, 31 percent of incoming retail CEOs are focused on international expansion as a key strategic priority, making that global mindset a competitive differentiator when searching for new leaders.
Retail CEO turnover is accelerating. New York-based Herbert Mines reported that 47 percent of public retail companies with revenues exceeding $1 billion experienced a chief executive change the past five years (up from 34 percent during the previous three years). Since 2007, 71 percent of retail companies have experienced a switch in CEO.
“There is significant evolution, innovation and disruption in the retail market right now and both are therefore poised as growth sectors for our industry,” said Margaret Gramann, managing director and leader of the consumer and retail practices at executive search firm Harvard Group International (HGI). “The consumer experience is at the heart of business success (or decline) – we need to delight them with what they want, what they need and what they (yet) don’t know they want and need. And we need to deliver an integrated experience so they have the agility to engage from home, at stores or mobile.”
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Andrew W. Mitchell, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media