Brent Magnuson Practice Group Leader, Dallas
Retail, Apparel and Luxury Goods
Retail stores are the key point of interaction between the consumer goods groups and consumers. In recent years, trends in retail – e-tailing, expansion into emerging markets, private labels, increasing shopper sophistication, the hollowing out of the mid-mass market, the rise of the discounters – have made a big impact on the whole consumer space.
The retail sector is also a bellwether for the wider economy. As economic downturn has become global recession, retailers have been hard hit and we have seen a number of well known chains forced into administration. While retailers in some categories, such as grocery, are likely to weather the storm well and may even emerge stronger, in those categories where spending is more discretionary – consumer electronics, luxury goods – the outlook appears bleak. Too much debt or too little cash will drive weaker and over-stored companies to closure in 2009.
What skills are needed now?
These uniquely challenging times call for strong leadership and new ways of thinking; strategic and conceptual insights must be matched with flawless, cost-effective execution. Consequently, there has never been greater need for skilled and experienced executives. Restructuring and change management skills are key competencies. Functional/operational excellence is a prerequisite, allied to a high degree of consumer understanding and commercial expertise. Above and beyond this, managers must be able to create practical, innovative strategies that will ensure survival and lead to sustainable success.
How can Egon Zehnder support the Retail, Apparel and Luxury Goods industry?
Executive talent remains the most enduring source of competitive advantage. We concentrate on helping our clients achieve this advantage through the identification, assessment and recruitment of talented professionals with outstanding track records.
Over the last 5 years, we have successfully completed over 1,100 searches worldwide in Retail, Apparel and Luxury Goods. We work for many of the best known global names in the sector and two-thirds of our mandates are for repeat clients. Our ability to collaborate seamlessly, in order to leverage the best experience and expertise, enables us to assemble a global team that assures our clients the best possible solution.
How we operate
We have in-depth experience across all sector categories and our expertise spans all functional areas, from CEO and senior general management positions, to specific positions in finance, sales, marketing, merchandising, retail operations and the supply chain.
We also work with best-in-class companies to ensure that essential competencies are available and developed in their executive and non-executive management teams. Our Talent Pipeline proactively identifies top strategic talent in the global market, with competencies in such critical functions as sourcing and supply chain, as well as in general management.
Our Leadership Strategy Services and specific Restructuring Reviews offer proven expertise in systematically evaluating and benchmarking companies’ existing management portfolio at both individual and team levels – and especially in supporting clients in a restructuring phase.
Our Board Consulting helps ensure that executive management teams get the support from an effective board that they need to be successful in these times. Our experience covers NED recruiting, appraisal of individual board member contributions, and overall board performance reviews.