Total Business Magazine

This Week’s 5 Must-Read Stories You May Have Missed

TSB appoints a new chief executive, the Carlos Ghosn scandal continues, and IKEA makes a stand against consumers’ changing habits.

We caught up with our newest columnist, business transformation expert, author of The Interim Revolution and Founder and CEO of Sullivan and Stanley, Pat Lynes, to discuss the biggest news stories you wouldn’t have wanted to miss last week.

1. TSB appoints Debbie Crosbie

After such a public fiasco earlier in the year, which followed the introduction of a new computer system that saw almost two million TSB customers lose access to online banking services, it seems TSB is finally finding its feet. With the hiring of Debbie Crosbie, the Chief Operating Officer at CYBG, it’s positive to see the board being brave enough to choose a diverse leader. Regardless of gender, Crosbie’s profile is immaculate, and her credentials are outstanding. In light of this, I applaud TSB for picking the right person for the job, rather than reverting to a ‘type’. With Crosbie’s open and engaging style of leadership, it is going to be interesting to see how the company changes and grows with her introduction in 2019.

2. Black Friday

It was hard to miss the copious amounts of Black Friday news and marketing emails this week. Don’t worry, I’m not going to sit here and list the best deals. However, as Sullivan & Stanley is helping several retailers transform at the moment, Black Friday is a hot talking point. Personally, I am not a fan of this sales bonanza as I believe it does not help the retail industry long-term. Although it generates “record levels of sales”, it encourages a boom and bust operating model, which, as a quick fix worries me regarding retailers profit margins and bottomline. Just look at John Lewis who we all believed to be future-proof due its strong loyal customer base. Yet despite of this, due to its heavy discounting it has been left with a massive profit deficit. Even its Elton John advert couldn’t bump up sales last week!

3. Nissan’s Carlos Ghosn

It hasn’t been a good week for ex-Nissan Chairman, Carlos Ghosn. First Ghosn was arrested for misusing funds and under-stating his salary, then an interim board were parachuted in to manage the crisis, which resulted in Ghosn’s dismissal. As we’re entering a world of transparency there is no room for secrecy – all leaders are accountable. In any successful organisation, good behaviour should always start at the top and cascade down to permeate throughout the business. Organisations need to prepare for a faster turnaround of leadership. Ideally they should be bringing in fresh new talent every 5-10 years, otherwise they become part of the problem, evident by Ghosn’s 17 years at the top. There are some rare cases, such as Jeff Bezos who is an example of how long-term transparent leadership can have a positive benefit on company behaviour. But leaders like Bezos are hard to come by.

4. IKEA refocuses on new smaller inner-city stores

We’re surrounded by negative High Street stories at the moment, so it was great this week to see positive news. It looks like global brand IKEA is trying to get ahead of the curve and future-proofing itself by accessing customers’ needs and opening large stores in city centres as it adapts to changing shopping habits. The retailer plans to add 4,000 staff to its global workforce over the next two years, as part of its business revamp. It made sense for IKEA to restructure its operating model to offer an omnichannel offering of small urban stores, concentrating on retail theatre with a more niche product set. Other brands should be using IKEA’s model as a guide to proactively tackle transformation, because disruption is here to stay.

5. Majestic Wine prepares for Brexit    

Thank you Majestic Wine for helping the nation drown their sorrows as we prepare for Brexit! If you missed it this week, the retailer is expected to stockpile more than 1.5m bottles of wine from France, Spain and Italy – the equivalent of an Olympic swimming pool – just in case we’re faced with no deal. Finally, a positive story around Brexit. It’s good to see a company thinking of consumers needs and cracking on with it by thinking so far ahead.

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