Iain’s significant track record in retail, and in particular his wide experience in online businesses, was the driver for us asking him to take on the role of Chief Operating Officer, leading WHSmith’s online business through a period of significant change.
Taking on the day-to-day running of the business and the delivery of major business change initiatives, allowed me to concentrate on the strategic direction of the business, into which Iain also had a valuable perspective and input.
In the 9 months Iain spent with us, we delivered some of the most notable achievements in the online business’ 7 year history. Whilst overhauling the customer proposition from pricing, product ranging and delivery mechanisms, we also implemented major back-end systems upgrades, launched a new web site, restructured our ISP business, refocused on our core brand and channels, and integrated with our high street stores for both ordering and delivery. In short, some fundamental shifts in the business.
The result of this activity has been improved operating profits and a clear direction for future growth, a result which Iain can be proud.
In terms of style, I’d describe Iain as a commercially astute hands-on deliverer with strong strategic perspective. He’s also a great person to have on the team, either with direct management responsibility or in a more consultative capacity.
In summary, I and the rest of the WHSmith team have been extremely pleased with the contribution that Iain has made to our business, and will definitely make use of his services again in the future.