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Special Report 2: Overhauling senior management is necessary to bring about major change

Undertaking transformational change inevitably involves a serious overhaul of senior management to ensure a vision for the future can be successfully delivered. By Glynn Davis in Paris

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

Special Report 2: Overhauling senior management is necessary to bring about major change

Speaking at the World Retail Congress in Paris Simon Calver, chief executive of Mothercare, which is part way down a major turnaround, revealed that half the executive team were replaced at the business but of those remaining they are regarded as "the glue" that helps retain some of the heritage of the business. 

However, he says they have had to buy into the new vision for the company - dubbed Mothercare 2.0 - and not "revel in the past". It was a similar story at Shop Direct Group when Mark Newton-Jones, former group chief executive of Shop Direct Group, took on the role of transforming it from a business with 10% of its sales online to a present 85%.

"We had two organisations that had forgotten how to win. We changed a significant amount of the leaders in the business," he says, adding that a third of the existing team stayed and were the "glue that held things together", a third were new to the business, and the remaining third were internal promotions.

With a refreshed top team it is then essential to "bring back belief in the company", according to Newton-Jones who says the message he initially gave was that the business had to achieve 50% of sales online within three years. "Some people said it was impossible but it was a simple statement and it had a huge impact. We then said we wanted 70% online within the following two years," he adds.

What is also essential in today's world is to empower young technology-literate individuals as they are vital for delivering on digital visions for the future. To this end Calver says he has brought in a 30-year-old to run Mothercare's CRM and a 28-year-old who is in charge of its app and mobile work.

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