I worked for 10 years at Marks and Spencer.
One of my first roles was as assistant manager at the store in Northumberland Street, Newcastle. I then moved to the Baker Street HQ as a sandwich and ready meals buyer.
I did a stint in Spain as a country manager for M&S before it withdrew from international operations, running retail operations and buying.
Then I returned to the UK as a category marketing manager.
In 2001 I left to join Tesco as business planning manager, responsible for tobacco, frozen food and petrol.
What are your current tasks?
I am responsible for UK sales and profitability for Gallaher from major supermarkets to discounters such as Kwik Save. I am also managing sales in T&S stores as they are integrated into the Tesco portfolio.
My major focus is building strategic and tactical sales plans for the multiples. The other aspect of my work is getting to understand shopper typologies and lifestyle.
Through accurate research, we should even be able to modify our marketing strategy on an outlet-by-outlet basis.
What’s it like switching from buying to selling?
It feels like I’m a poacher turned gamekeeper. It’s a very different view from this side of the desk.
Manufacturers have a great level of knowledge that retailers do not recognise, but if they do and they embrace it, they have great opportunities to grow their business.
How is Gallaher shaping up in the wake of the ad ban?
We believe there has been no effect on sales from the ad ban. Advertising doesn’t increase sales anyway – it increases brand switching.
Withdrawing from consumer advertising has enabled us to increase our spend at the point of purchase. Current legislation doesn’t cover trade communications and we’re putting a lot of effort into that.