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Retail leadership in ‘crisis’, survey finds

Leadership teams across the retail sector have been deemed “not fit for purpose,” according to a new survey of industry chairs, CEOs and senior executives.

Carried out by executive search firm Green Park and World Retail Congress, the DNA of Future Retail Leadership report reveals key problems and areas where companies need to focus their strategies to create leadership teams with the skills, attributes and behaviours needed to “survive and thrive”.

Findings include:

  • Just 36% believe their company’s leadership team is moving fast enough to keep up with changing consumer behaviour
  • Only 27% said their leadership team has the digital expertise to succeed in the future
  • Just 26% feel their leadership team has the necessary skills in data and analytics to succeed in the future
  • A total of 56% said their leadership team is not diverse enough to reflect their customers
  • Three-quarters, 75%, said their leadership team is comfortable managing their individual functional silos but struggles with end-to-end processes

Respondents blamed a range of issues for the problems, including: failure of leadership to adapt to rapid changes to consumer behaviour caused by technological change; failure of culture within leadership teams; lack of diversity within the top team and store retailers failing to implement changes to make them more competitive.

Green Park co-founder and head of retail Steve Baggi said: “This report should act as a wake-up call for much of the retail sector. As technological change increases and consumers interact with brands in more innovative ways, it’s clear that the leadership teams at many leading companies appear unable to adapt and, as a result, risk failure in the future.

“However there is hope. Some companies, led by forward thinkers adept at using data and technology to harness insights about their customers, are thriving. The rest of the sector can follow their lead, to help ensure they too can prosper in tomorrow’s business environment.”

The survey interviewed more than 150 chairs, CEOs and senior executives from the retail sector across the world.

Readers' comments (3)

  • Don't know why we needed a survey for this one, we have known about it for years !!

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  • Nothing new in this report. In general terms, it has always been the case. The cream stays at the bottom and the dross rises to the top.

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  • It's not just the dross, it's the loud-mouths and the bullies who get things done through fear and intimidation but don't listen.
    So while they may enjoy success for a while, they aren't listening when things change.

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