Opinion: Good Old Fashioned Human Pride

By Ru Jupp, Founder & Managing Partner of Princedale Partners


I’ve worked in headhunting for 17 years now and one question I always ask those that I interview is what makes them tick. I must have asked the question over 2,000 times, so when a friend of mine recently asked what makes me tick as a headhunter and founder of a growth digital search firm, I thought I’d reflect on just that.
I’ve been incredibly fortunate with building Princedale Partners over the last five years. From the first Digital Director search Waitrose retained us on in early 2013, to currently having the privilege of working with some of the fastest growing companies such as Boohoo, Lovehoney, Treatwell, Uber and Habito to name just a few.
But what’s the reason I get out of bed in the morning? This question can be answered best in two ways.
Firstly, it’s working in an ambitious growth firm. I have a superb team of hard-working, down to earth colleagues who have real integrity, are fun to be around and collectively all pull in the same direction. In the early stages of any business, it’s vital to build the foundations properly through hiring the right people. The team I’ve built over the last five years is the first reason I come to work every day. It’s because of them we’re able to operate at such a high level, and consistently make incredible leadership appointments for some of the fastest growing companies in the world.
The second thing that makes me tick is hearing that the individuals we have placed with clients continue to go above and beyond the job they were originally hired for and achieve truly amazing results. Just this week I read that two individuals whom I was responsible for placing have both been promoted and the stories have been well covered by the press.
There’s no better feeling as a headhunter than winning a retained search with a client, finding a an incredible hire, and then subsequently hearing about that person flourishing in the business you’ve placed them in.
The details of each promotion are as follows:
Thomas Wehmeier has been promoted from Head of Research to become one of the highly respected Partners at Atomico (one of Europe’s largest venture capital firms) after we placed him there back in 2013. He has built both his and Atomico’s brand locally and globally through diligence, insight and hard work and has been acknowledged for it through this fantastic promotion.
Jenny Watts – who I recruited into Habito only nine months ago – has already been promoted from divisional MD to COO! Getting promoted at one of the fastest growing robo-advisory businesses in the UK in such a short period of time is truly outstanding and makes me very proud indeed.
Hearing of not just one, but two success stories like this in the same day is pride-inducing stuff. Particularly when one considers that we almost always headhunt individuals out of positions and businesses they are seemingly happy in, which is a true testament to the efforts of our hard-working team and the appeal of our growing client base.
As with many clients that we work with at Princedale, the robots might indeed one day disrupt the headhunting sector too, but for now it remains a very human job and that’s why I love it.
As ever, if you’d like to discuss in confidence your organisation’s digital talent strategy or potential hiring needs, please contact me below
Best wishes,
Rupert signature

Rupert Jupp
Managing Partner


m. 07926 186 549

t. 020 7221 2019

e. rupert@princedalepartners.com

l.  linkedin.com/rupertjupp

Digital People Moves Report – Summer 2017

Since our last report in March, the hottest moves in the industry have been as exciting, unexpected and interesting as ever. Here is our summer report for Digital People Moves – appointments that have taken place across the wider marketplace in the last few months. It has been great to see such high levels of activity before we enter the quieter months of July and August.

If you would like to discuss the digital talent market or you have digital hiring needs we can help with, do get in touch.

Best regards,

Rupert signature

Rupert Jupp
Managing Partner

  • Mary Homer / x Topshop / Joins The White Company as CEO
  • Gavin Williams / x eNova / Joins Joins Farfetch as Product Director, Store of the Future
  • Nicola Huet / x Practicology / Joins Ralph Lauren as Digital Marketing Director EMEA
  • Jerry Dakin / x Carat / Joins Diageo as Head of Digital Media Partnerships
  • Murray Beckett / x Green Man Gaming / Joins Boohoo as Marketing Director
  • Angela Morrison / x Direct Line /Joins Debenhams as IT & Supply Chain Director
  • Jennifer Pasiakos / x Nasty Gal / Joins The Business of Fashion as Head of Marketing
  • Richard Clark / x Boohoo / Joins N Brown as International Director
  • David Buttress / x Just Eat / Joins 83North a General Partner
  • Ray Gammell / Etihad Airways / Moves to Interim CEO
  • James Williams / x Jigsaw / Joins Phase Eight as Director of Marketing and Online Trading
  • Gwynn Milligan / x Jaeger / Joins Jojo Maman Bebe as Commercial Director
  • Alex Williamson / x Goodwood / Joins House of Fraser as CEO
  • Alex Horstmann / Thomas Cook / Moves to Group Digital Director
  • Glyn Williams / Card Factory / Moves to Multichannel and Customer Director
  • Christian Woolfenden / x Lyst / Joins PhotoBox as Managing Director
  • Jason Merron / x Sainsbury’s / Joins Amazon as Director of Inventory Management Automation
  • Sean Foster / x Crowdtap / Joins Coty as SVP Global Ecommerce
  • Sarah Speake / x Clear Channel / Joins Truphone as Interim Global Marketing Director
  • Andy Harding / x HoF / Joins Mothercare as Chief Customer Officer
  • Claire Hennah / x Selfridges / Joins Unilever as Global Ecommerce Director, Personal Care
  • Jason Trout / x Exponential / Joins Unruly as MD EMEA
  • John Veichmanis / Farfetch / Moves to CMO
  • Jonathan Dees / x The Fairtrade Foundation / Joins The Property Software Group as COO
  • Hugh Fahy / x Notonthehighstreet / Joins MYOB in Australia as GM Engineering
  • David Knowles / x 4Finance / Joins Matches Fashion as Interim CTO
  • Mark McClennon / x Unilever / Joins Burberry as Global CIO
  • Rob Silsbury / x Ralph Lauren / Joins Dune as Ecommerce and Marketing Director
  • Robin Philips / x Boots / Joins Kurt Geiger as Director of Digital

Digital People Moves Report, Q4 2016

2016 provided us with ups and downs aplenty but of one thing we can be absolutely sure: digital people moves within the consumer marketplace in October, November and December were as prevalent and exciting as ever. Here is our quarterly report on those moves.

To be clear, this is an overview of appointments that have taken place across the wider marketplace and are not necessarily all our placements.

Let me know if you would like to meet and discuss the digital talent marketplace and any hiring needs you may have.

Here’s to the New Year and I look forward to hearing from you if the team and I can help in any way.

Best regards,

Rupert signature

Rupert Jupp
Managing Director

  • Lisa Harris / x Netflix / Joins HBO Eur. as VP Consumer Insights and BI
  • Jonny Woolridge / x The Cambridge Satchel Company / Joins EE as Director of Dev and Ops
  • Robin Terrell / x Tesco / Takes up NED at Wilko and WIlliam Hill Online
  • Peter Donovan / x Paddy Power / Joins CarTrawler as CPO
  • Robbie Feather / x Sainsbury’s / Moves over to Argos as Commercial Director
  • Anna Rafferty / x Pottermore / Joins BBC Studios as Global Digital Marketing & Content Director
  • Tamsin Todd / x Tui Travel / Joins Addison Lee as Chief Customer Officer
  • Jim Cruickshank / x Picsolve / Joins M&S as Global Head of Digital Product & UX
  • Andy Lightfoot / x Arcadia / Joins Space NK as Global Group Digital Director
  • Adam Chassin / x Amazon / Joins Uber as Head of Business, Europe
  • Elly Hardwick / x Credit Benchmark / Joins Deutsche Bank as Head of Innovation
  • Ivo Rook / Vodafone / Moves to Group Director IoT
  • Mark Lewis / x John Lewis / Joining Moneysupermarket.com as CEO in March 17
  • Russ Carroll / x Rakuten Marketing / Joins Klarna UK as Commercial Director
  • Jon Rudoe / x Sainsbury’s / Joins Shop Direct as Retail and Technology Director
  • Susan Saideman / Amazon / Moves to Vice President, Fashion in Europe
  • Kash Mahmood / x Boots / Joins Next as Digital Director
  • James McKenzie / x Screwfix / Joins Toolstation as Managing Director
  • Keith Reville / x Lebara Group / Joins WW Grainger as COO International and Digital
  • Benjamin Braun / x ComparetheMarket.com / Joins Audi as Digital and Marketing Director
  • Stephanie Phair / x Net-A-Porter / Joins Farfetch as Chief Strategy Officer
  • Elise Gilbert / LVMH / Moves to Director of Digital Strategy
  • Arslan Sharif / x British Gas / Joins Missguided as Chief Customer Officer
  • Paul Bolt / x Rackspace / Joins Microsoft as Director, SMB
  • Andy Street / x John Lewis / Pursuing political ambitions as Conservative candidate for W. Midlands Mayor
  • Christian Hartnagel / Lidl / Moves to CEO
  • Simon Roberts / x Boots / Joins Sainsbury’s as Retail and Operations Director
  • David Guise / x Woolworths Australia / Joins M&S as HRD
  • Deborah Lee / x BT Global Services / Joins Yoox Net-a-Porter as Chief People Officer
  • Andrew Mann / x Co-op / Joins Asda as VP of Insight, Pricing and Digital CRM
  • Rakhi Rajani / x Travelex / Joins McKinsey as VP Digital
  • David Guise / x Woolworths Australia / Joins M&S as Human Resources Director
  • Amee Chande / Alibaba / Moves to Head of Global Strategy and Operations
  • Steve Zuanella / x Zurich Insurance / Joins RSA as CDO
  • Becky Brock / x Snow & Rock Group / Joins John Lewis as Marketing Director

What does it mean to be a Chief Customer Officer? Princedale’s November roundtable with guests from New Look, Joules, Moss Bross, River Island, RatedPeople.com and Santander

On Thursday, 24th November, we invited a high-profile group of recently appointed Chief Customer Officers from some of the UK’s best-known retailers, banks and start-ups to discuss their Chief Customer Officer remits, what they find exciting and challenging and to share experiences among peers. The following is a snapshot of the key take-aways from the morning.

How well understood is the title and job description of “Chief Customer Officer”?

“The expectation of the role and reality are two very different things. When I was being interviewed for the role, 10% of what I was being assessed for was based on my hard skills and ability to do the job. The other 90% was focussed on my ability to influence others in getting them to understand the role and the importance of it within the business… and then their confidence in my being able to drive the centrally overseen customer attention in everything we do.”

“My CEO’s vision is that everybody within the business has responsibility for the customer meaning there is no need for a Chief Customer Officer. I get what’s meant here but don’t totally agree. I do think there needs to be someone at the top and on the Board to take ownership and drive the customer agenda”.

If you had the choice, what other functions beyond marketing and digital experiences would you like to own and do you feel would help you be truly effective?

“Parts of IT. I would love to be able to make some things happen within my own team and influence quicker. Sometimes it can take weeks to achieve a very small thing as the task has to be passed through so many different people and functions, particularly IT. Bertrand Bodson (Chief Digital and Marketing Officer at Sainsbury’s-Argos) seems to have a really amazing platform to leverage as he has IT reporting into him… that’s the dream!”

Would it make sense to have a highly experienced digital/customer champion or perhaps a digitally native millennial in the form of an NED to support your central customer agenda?

“At my company we have a ‘Junior Board’ made of up employees across the functions and all are under the age of 30 and seen as real up-and-comers. They meet every month and there are many clear benefits to this for the Board and the wider business, but one of the downsides of many of them being young is they’re sometimes afraid of upsetting the decision makers at the top and tarnishing their careers.”

“One of the biggest challenges I face as a CCO is that me and my team do some great research and come up with some amazing ideas and strategies with a clear vision. We take these to the Finance Director who often reject it due to the level of investment needed to innovate. Too often, cost tends to come before customer experience. I would love to have more influence on the finance department and be able to get them on board with the CCO vision and the direction of travel most of us need to take, namely that of a brand that sells great product.”

What functional background should a CCO come from?

“It’s about the individual and how they can influence others as true strategic customer champions. Most of us come from Marketing and Digital Product backgrounds and are now Chief Customer Officers because we are naturally always championing the customer. This is not always easy but it’s a clear trait and so probably rather self-selective”

It was also recognised in this discussion that as headhunters appointing Chief Customer Officers, the focus is less likely to be on past key deliverables that an individual has attained, as so much is nuanced here. It’s actually about the individual’s character, approach and ability to both influence and drive change that in turn can be recognised for keeping the business relevant in the increasingly channel-agnostic and digital world.

When you look back at the last 12 months in role, what can you take pride and accountability for?

“For me, my greatest achievement is when I get people to agree on the same vision and then they go off, achieve change together and come back to you and say “look what we’ve done and how great it worked”. As the CCO I can then go to the Board and say “Look what I managed to get people to do. I feel I am only successful if the business puts the customer first in everything they do, and that this is intrinsic in every conversation. The last thing I want is for me and my team to feel like we’re a command centre. We should be a redundant function at some stage as innovation and customer thinking should be inherent in most functions.”

Where do you see the CCO role going in the next 3-5 years? Where do you think it could take you?

“A General Manager role. The CCO works across every function in influencing everyone to believe in the same vision. It’s given me the skills needed to go to the top where I could become an MD in a bigger business or a CEO in a smaller one.”

“No idea, but it could well be a job title and role that is extinct within 5-10 years just as many Chief Digital Officer briefs are likely to be too. Both remits are about owning the transformation agenda for business in the digital area but if we do our jobs right, the whole business will be inherently digital, innovative and relevant to our customers now and in the future”

Do you think the Chief Customer role is a natural consideration for a succession plan to your CEO?

Almost unanimously, this was felt highly unlikely. While it was felt that previous experience of store management will be less important for future Retail CEOs, it was agreed that for a digitally-focussed Chief Customer Officer to become a CEO, they will likely need to have experience of managing a P&L.


For more on our findings from this discussion group, or if you would like to share your views and experiences, please get in touch with Rupert@princedalepartners.com or Jamie@princedalepartners.com.

Best regards,

Rupert signature

Rupert Jupp
Managing Director

Former HRD International of Urban Outfitters joins Princedale as Partner

Jamie Homer, the former International Business Development and HR Director of URBN Urban Outfitters Inc, has today joined Princedale Partners as a Partner. Having spent the last 7 years at URBN helping to build the Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie and Free People brands around Europe and recruiting and hiring the management function for all brands, Jamie brings over 15 years of Retail and Consumer experience to the digitally focussed executive search firm.

Jamie also spent the previous three years at URBN in a broader Business Development role with a mandate to open up new markets and channels of business around the EU, Middle East and Asia for all brands. Additionally Jamie has a wealth of EU employment and labour law knowledge having opened up 7 countries for Urban Outfitters and through owing the HR function for 2500 employees across 11 EU countries.

Before URBN, he built the internal recruitment function for the Selfridges Group in Toronto, Canada (Selfridges, Brown Thomas and Holt Renfrew) for three years with responsibility for all Global senior hires across their luxury Department Stores.

Jamie began his retail career in the executive search industry in London where he was the Head of Research for a boutique consultancy specialising in the retail and consumer facing space.

As a Partner at Princedale, alongside Rupert Jupp the MD & Founder, he will help expand the firm’s expertise in digital transformation within the Retail industry, both in the UK and Internationally.

Our Autumn CDO Breakfast

Last week, we were proud to host our autumn digital leader’s roundtable with guests from across the consumer markets sharing with one another their experiences, challenges, achievements and perspectives. Guests from Sky, Coca-Cola, Everything Everywhere, Unilever, Santander, BirdsEye, Guardian Media & Schuh. Arguably the best private dining room to host a breakfast in the London, we thank The Wolsey, Mayfair for hosting us and looking forward to our next one we’re holding in February 2017.


What a week, month, year for Morrisons

Take yourself back to 12 months ago where Morrisons was fully in the quagmire. Profit warnings, slipping market share and even a boardroom intervention from the Morrisons family caused chaos to the share price amid gloomy city speculation. More worryingly, the Group was stuck in an existential crisis. Supermarket grandee, David Potts was brought in and has led a rejuvenation of the brand with a return to the retail fundamentals of range, price and product. They aborted their convenience store operation, hired more frontline customer service staff at a time where most retailers cutting back and abandoned many of the projects they only ever half-heartedly believed in.

Leveraging their manufacturing arm they have negotiated a stellar deal with Amazon, which has immediately won their place back in the FTSE 100, with good cause. It can’t be long now before Amazon enters online groceries with a full service line although this development will serve Morrisons very well. On the same day Ocado’s stock dropped by 6.5% spelling woe for the online grocer. With Tesco, Sainsburys and Asda all in a somewhat difficult place, Morrisons is gaining customers and now looks the most able to fend off the charge of their German rivals. With loyal customers, a great team, price reductions and the Amazon and Ocado deals in place, the future looks bright for Morrisons.

Spencer Corin
Research Consultant

The Launch of our specialist FinTech practice

“We’re living in a transformational era for financial services. Our children will look back at these past decades and laugh at how we banked”.

Bradley Leimer Head of Innovations at Santander.

The evolution of financial services that we see today will have an enormous impact on the way we interact with and perceive one of our most ‘valued’ assets – money. Improved technology and access to it has enabled anyone with a computer and internet connection to build potentially game changing digital products. Banking in particular used to be confined to the wealthy elite which meant that they rarely, if ever, focused on providing a customer led product or experience. Things have changed significantly and as a result, the way we handle and view money has changed forever.

Over the past five years, $49.7 billion has been invested globally in ‘FinTech’, close to $10 billion of which has been in Europe alone (Business Insider, 2015). Furthermore, London has established itself as a global hub for FinTech with the UK being the leading Hub in Europe. Innovation has taken place across P2P lending, Investing, Payments, Foreign Exchange, Remittances, Consumer Banking and Financial Software, however, an estimated 90% of the financial services sector has yet to be disrupted (BBA, 2015). That leaves many untapped opportunities…

I joined Rupert Jupp and the team at Princedale Partners to grow their FinTech and Financial Services practice as I am excited at playing a key role in enabling these disruptive businesses identify and engage the world’s best Digital talent. Similar to the FinTech industry, Princedale set out to disrupt by changing the way businesses find talent through a tailored, transparent and creative approach which has led to us working with some of the most recognisable consumer brands in the world.

Due to the enormous positive impact that I perceive FinTech will have on the global economy, from a consumer’s perspective, I’m excited to be a part of it. Over the coming months you will be hearing a lot more from us as we delve deep into the challenges that businesses are facing with regards to attracting the best talent; retaining the best talent; understanding what the right talent solutions are; and what talent resources will be required in the future. I will be lending my own views on these issues and discussing them with some of the current and future leaders in the industry.

Watch this space…

Matthew Parker
Consultant – Leadership appointments in Fintech and Financial Services (Europe).


Oscar Williams-Grut, Business Insider, 2015. http://bit.ly/1X5KOhs

Araine Poulain, BBA, 2015. http://bit.ly/1X5KU8S

Can the supermarkets take another heavy dose of competition?

Over the past 18 months, the Supermarket industry has made fantastic viewing for the outside observer; less so for those intimately involved. Brutal price competition from the German upstarts has changed the groceries landscape irrecoverably, as has changing habits and rising customer expectations. The market share of the Big Four has slid from 77% in 2013 to 72.6% today, contrasted with a 60% increase in the share held by Aldi and Lidl. Rumours that Aldi and Lidl will join the online groceries market, in addition to Amazon Fresh, will only add to their woes.

Competition economics suggests that it is madness for firms to compete on price when operating in an oligopoly. Everyone loses out, including the consumer in the long run. In a climate where 50% of their main food suppliers are struggling to stay in business, clearly the continuing fall in prices is unsustainable. But what are they to do?

As Mike Coupe has said, “Supermarkets must reinvent themselves.” They can achieve this by focusing on customer satisfaction above all else, investing in a compelling multichannel experience and developing innovative products which truly delight the customer.

What will happen to the Big Four, including Waitrose and the Co-op, remains to be seen. What are your thoughts?

Spencer Corin – Head of Research