Name: Graham Harris
Was: CEO, Tesco Telecoms and Tesco Mobile
Now: Trading director, Carpetright
Years in grocery: 12
Career background: Harris has almost 30 years’ retail experience working across store management, financial, commercial and general management roles. He started out at Woolworths in 1984, moving three years later to The Burton Group, where he worked for 10 years. He then moved on to House of Fraser. In 2000, he joined Tesco and went on to hold a number of senior roles over a 12-year period, including category director electrical & entertainment, commercial director UK hardlines and CEO of Tesco Mobile and Tesco Telecoms. However, he left in 2011, reportedly for personal reasons.
What is he doing now? In May this year, Harris was appointed trading director for Carpetright as part of a management restructure to allow founder Lord Harris (who is no relation to Harris) to reduce his day-to-day executive involvement in the company. In the newly created role, he has responsibility for product, buying and logistics. Speaking at the time of his appointment, CEO Darren Shapland said: “He is a highly experienced retail executive and his background in hardline categories leaves him well-qualified to take on the newly created post.”
At Tesco: Harris was a key figure in helping build Tesco’s non-food business, working across categories such as hardware, sport, toys, stationery and entertainment. When he was at the helm of the retailer’s telecoms business, the number of mobile subscribers rose 24%.
What’s next? Harris will be aiming to boost the trading performance of Carpetright. Last month, it reported a 2.9% drop in full-year sales to £457.6m. Although UK sales were flat, sales in the rest of Europe fell 15.5%.