Chief Operating Officer (CTO/CIO background)

Retail/Omni-Channel
£150-175,000 plus 50% bonus, STIP, LTIP and Equity
Northern England

This is a unique opportunity for a technologically aware, Chief Operating Officer, or a commercially astute Chief Technology Officer with the desire to ascent to a Group-wide No.2 role.

My client has long been one of the country’s most impressive and most entrepreneurial luxury brand retailers. Retaining their private ownership, and benefiting from it as they respond to an ever-changing marketplace and gradually climb to be the market leader in their sector. Their long-standing, dynamic and highly innovative CEO has driven the business to ever greater growth and overall financial performance, whilst pioneering new initiatives that have been seen as trail-blazing and subsequently adopted by larger competitors in and out of their direct market.

Following a long-range strategic review, this entrepreneurial CEO has once again set a course to drive his business into new and innovative areas, complementing the business stronghold on all aspects of their market, but capitalising on the evolving marketplace and advances in technology whilst capitalising on the USPs and customer data/knowledge the business possesses after decades at the top of their market.

The business has seen its proportion of online sales dramatically increase over the last decade, but done so without cannibalising its high-street performance. Innovation and an extremely commercial approach to the customer journey has been key to that dual growth strategy, but the business now sees the opportunity to undertake a further step-shift, partly through adoption of a genuine Omni-Channel strategy, but primarily by utilising latest generation technology and combining data management with mobile technology, augmented reality/VR and customer care.

A critical aspect of this plan is to recruit a Chief Operating Officer, to act as unequivocal No.2 and right-hand man/woman to the CEO, but to do so whilst spearheading their digital/technological change programme, leading the business in terms of key initiatives, innovation, technology, and digital transformation; Supporting the business’s accelerated growth plans.

The COO will have come from a technology rich background. Most likely as a CTO/CIO within a B2C environment, but equally likely from a truly commercial/operational leadership role within a technology-dominated retailer, or similar.

As an individual with a passion for both Technology, Retail/Customer Journey but especially for business, the COO will design and lead the strategic roadmap for the business, while ensuring they are delivered in full, timely and within budget.  You will leverage resources across the business to ensure proper deployment of projects and build key business relationships that are critical to the success of the strategy, and its component parts.

Through overseeing the execution of the transformational strategy and partnering with Group-wide teams on initiatives and continuous improvement/evolution, you will identify opportunities for further development, improvements and create subsequent strategies to capitalise on the business’s commercial position, as well as not only resolving roadblocks, but seeking to gain a commercial/competitive advantage from them. You will foster positive working relationships with cross-functional partners to understand their feedback for potential improvements and ensure their needs are being met.

But this is a true Chief Operating Officer role, acting as 2nd in charge to the CEO. The appointee will be tasked with working extremely closely with the CEO and will play a key role in ensuring their (and the business’s) ambitions are met over the next few years – The digital/technology transformation project will play a lead part of the role, and is seen as THE key factor in the business achieving success and will impact and affect the entire business and its operations, but the role will extend well beyond just the transformation project. The COO will enjoy a huge amount of support and buy-in from the CEO.

Key Accountabilities

  • Driving the retail business performance within stores and online
  • Establish the company’s digital vision and operational strategy, and lead all aspects of the company’s technological development.
  • Ensure that full attention is given to customers and that they are provided with a high level of service. There will be a perceived point of difference with competitors, especially through the use of technology.
  • Take an unequivocal lead in directing the company’s overall strategic direction, development and future growth.
  • Lead and work in a consultative fashion with all departments, including high-street retail operations, e-commerce operations, trading/B&M, marketing, general operations, especially as an advisor of technologies that may improve their efficiency and effectiveness.
  • Provide leadership to all department heads in a fashion that supports the company’s culture, mission and values.
  • Conduct research and case studies on leading edge technologies and makes determinations on the probability of implementation.

Experience/Skills

  • Leading a multi-disciplined, technology-led business across web/software development, digital infrastructure, developing technologies, business intelligence and data analytics.
  • A strategic leader, but passionate about ‘getting your hands dirty’.
  • A key driver in ideation, especially around technological innovation and new commercial initiatives.
  • Demonstrable ability to have business-wide buy-in and commercial impact around major initiatives, such as Digital Transformation.
  • Proven track record of designing, leading, implementing and managing large-scale technology-led projects….and aligning them to commercial needs and success.
  • Establishing and managing Technology budgets.
  • Excellent influencing skills, working with, educating and leading both technical and non-technical teams.
  • Leading teams of passionate individuals across all functions within an entrepreneurial B2C/Retail environment.
  • Introducing Omni-Channel initiatives within a fast-paced consumer environment.

The ideal candidate will have prior experience in the role of CTO/CIO (or equivalent) within a retail/B2C environment. You will possess the demonstrable ability to lead the large operational projects/functions and be ready to step up to lead an entire business, working in partnership with the CEO business.

You will have already had experience in large-scale IT/digital transformations, advanced information technologies, business process optimisation and digital innovations.You will be prime to step up,translating rapidly evolving technological and digital capabilities into innovative solutions and commercial success; helping serve customers a little better and driving the business into new areas of growth and success.

As CTO/CIO (or similar), you will be able to demonstrate a successful track record of business growth and designing innovative technological initiatives and solutions, whilst remaining a broad operational leader and influencer.

As a strong team player, you will be adept at leading from the front and being hands-on when necessary, understanding the root of the phrase ‘Retail is Detail’ as you drive the teams and get behind the business for which you are responsible for.  With such a fast-paced, lithe consumer-focused business, you will be highly adaptable, agile, and simply love working in a high-profile, dynamic business, constantly driving new innovations and commercial success.

  • At least 5 years’ experience as CIO/CTO or similar in a B2C/Retail business with proven examples of working with emerging technologies/technological initiatives to the benefit of customer and the commercial success business
  • Experience of working in an e-commerce technology environment with a strong consumer focus, where high volume transactions dominate the expectations on Technology
  • Proven track record of delivering a Technology transformation programme with a strong element of Digital
  • Preferably educated to degree level in a relevant business/science discipline, or with demonstrable ‘real world’ entrepreneurial exposure.
  • Strong strategic relationship management capabilities. Able to gain trust, respect and confidence quickly and effectively and to provide significant influence at Board level
  • Outstanding interpersonal skills with strong presence and the ability to impact at all levels of the organisation.
  • Well developed and proven leadership and people management skills.
  • Adept at using a high degree of common sense, to take full account of the business and commercial realities of any given situation, to identify priorities and to make sound decisions which take all relevant perspectives into account
  • Ability to form and maintain relationships with relevant people inside and outside the organisation, to communicate coherently, clearly and simply, and to gain trust from others whilst engaging people in moving towards the accomplishment of key objectives
  • The passion, confidence and determination to turn plans into substantive actions and to deliver promised results, whatever the circumstances, difficulties or challenges. The desire to improve continuously to push boundaries and be seen as an industry thought leader.

To learn more about this fantastic opportunity, or to formally apply, please forward a full CV with current salary/package details to gary@garychaplin.com. Thank you

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