Where are they now? Katie Bickerstaffe, CEO UK & Ireland for Dixons Retail

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Name: Katie Bickerstaffe
Was: MD for Kwik Save
Now: CEO UK & Ireland for Dixons Retail

Career background: A graduate of the Unilever management training scheme, Bickerstaffe’s early career included stints at PepsiCo and Dyson. However, in grocery she is best known for her time at Somerfield. Joining in September 2001, she was promoted to group HR director in October 2002. She was named head of business in February 2004, and then group retail director and head of retail operations of Kwik Save in October that year. In February 2006 she was named MD of Kwik Save, but left when the chain was sold to new owners. She resurfaced at Dixons Retail in June 2008 as group people, marketing and property director.

What is she doing now? Last month, Bickerstaffe was promoted to the new role of CEO of UK & Ireland at Dixons and also joined the group board. Dixons says that during her time with the company she has delivered the turnaround of its UK business, taking responsibility for its store portfolio strategy, marketing, customer relationship management, HR and e-commerce operations. “Katie, with Sebastian [James, group CEO], has transformed our business in the UK into a truly customer focused operation and I welcome her to the board,” chairman John Allan said last month.

Biggest achievement in grocery? Bickerstaffe turned many heads in the sector during her meteoric rise up the ranks at Somerfield. She was known for her energetic and informal management style and has been described by her contemporaries as “decisive and direct”.

What does the future hold? With her very recent promotion, Bickerstaffe has her feet firmly under the table at Dixons, so there is unlikely to be a move back to grocery for some time yet.

Readers' comments (1)

  • Katie, I hope I have found a voice & reliable point of contact for Southern Electric directors board based on your background. I am about to leave SSE (Gas & Electric) I don't want anyone to change my mind nor do I want compensation. But I do want your greedy profiteering board to know what is happening in the UK. I appreciate my voice is small fry. I have always paid in excess (not for tariff but standing order) for quite a few years for my gas & electric.This gives me peace of mind if your tariffs happen to go up. Because of my surpluss payments I have been promised refunds now on two separate occasions ( 6 to 12 months aprt) and these have not occurred as agreed within reasonable time scales, and have been given many staff related reasons for error. However it is your operating systems and inflexible process that is at fault. This has caused me real hardship at your companie's profit & benefit. Some may call me stupid for paying an excess. I have a choice however not to be taken advantage of.The last lady to comunicate with me from SSE should be a CEO. She has customer focus in her heart, and did her best to sort things out for me. Your company let this staff member down. She is backed up by a system of protocols led by donkeys. I give allowance for an error once but to receive the same treatment twice - is putting your hand in a dogs mouth and wondering why you keep being bitten. Get a grip on your profiteering at your customers expense. You clearly have inadequate processes to refund people or deliberately scam them to claim maximum interest. Despite the best efforts of this SSE lady I am leaving. I am sure others will too. Good luck. Account number 7760904218

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