I worked for McKinsey consultants as head of retail for more than five years. My job was divided between the UK, France, Germany and Switzerland. I established the online delivered wholesaler Blueheath in April 2001.
Why did you found the company?
I had always wanted to found my own business. Blueheath is in a sector I knew because I had worked for supermarkets on supply chain issues for McKinsey. I believed that small shops were going to be where the action was for a wholesaler such as Blueheath. When I set up the company, techniques used by the major multiples hadn’t been applied to independents. One of the things I wanted to do was take the style of distribution system of a Tesco or an Asda and scale it down for smaller retailers.
Did the company have any difficulties after it was launched?
We initially encountered what I would call a healthy scepticism. Many people told us they thought we were mad to try it. It’s a tough, competitive business and we’ve had to work hard at fulfilment and on-
time delivery. There’s a world of difference between plans on paper and the reality.
What are your plans for its future?
We have a workable system which gives us a platform to deliver to small shops, but there are other things we could do through more sophisticated use of technology. We are trialling several schemes internally and we will be ready to go live with them shortly.
What do you do in your spare time?
I take part in a lot of sports. I like ski mountaineering and have skied down Mont Blanc. I am also a trustee of the Science Museum in London and help finance its work on museums and education.