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Ever more is being demanded of retail leaders. Today’s chiefs are required to place greater emphasis on people, purpose and innovation in order to drive profits. This takes a different kind of leader – one who is more collaborative and less hierarchical. 

Three years ago, we rebranded The Power List as the Retail 100 to remove outdated thinking about power players, yet we retained one element that now seems outdated – the ranking itself.

Fresh for 2022, the Retail 100 has a new look and a new focus.

Gone are the traditional 1 to 100 rankings – often synonymous with power and hierarchy –  and in their place is a celebration of retail leaders transforming the sector in six important ways: culture and people; sustainability; innovation; collaboration; strategy; and customer experience.

Gone are the rankings and in their place is a celebration of retail leaders transforming the sector

This shake-up means we have been able to spotlight people at the helm of burgeoning brands (The Disruptors) that other retailers are looking to for inspiration, such as Beauty Pie founder and chief executive Marcia Kilgore and Gorillas founder Kağan Sümer. 

It also means, for the first time, we have been able to evolve the Retail 100 to recognise the hugely influential role chief people officers are playing in driving retail transformation (The People Champions), with Currys chief people officer Paula Coughlan among those on the list.

CPO is not the only new job title in our index as we look beyond chief executives. You will see that chief operations officers, such as Asos’ Mathew Dunn, and digital directors, such as Sainsbury’s Clodagh Moriarty, are also celebrated for shaping the strategies of their businesses to get closer to consumers.

In the words of British Retail Consortium chief executive Helen Dickinson – featured among The People Champions – in retail, “doing the right thing has never been more important.” This applies, Dickinson says, “whether it’s supporting colleagues during these difficult times or protecting customers from the full shock of rising costs; building and retaining loyalty is vital”.

The Retail 100 is a testament to this; the individuals celebrated here reflect the human face of leadership.

Get ready to meet them and please join us in recognising their efforts.

Did we get it right? Let us know who you want to see in the Retail 100 and who your ones to watch are. Join the conversation on Twitter and LinkedIn with the hashtag #Retail100

Retail 100 infographic of key stats

Meet the Retail 100

Graham Biggart, chief transformation officer, Sainsbury's

Graham Biggart, chief transformation officer, Sainsbury's

Lisa Cherry, executive director for people, John Lewis

Lisa Cherry, executive director for people, John Lewis

Roisin Currie, chief executive, Greggs

Roisin Currie, chief executive, Greggs

Roisin Currie, chief executive, Greggs

Shirine Khoury-Haq, interim group chief executive, The Co-op

Shirine Khoury-Haq, interim group chief executive, The Co-op

Shirine Khoury-Haq, interim group chief executive, The Co-op

Charlotte Lock, customer director, John Lewis Partnership

Charlotte Lock, customer director, John Lewis Partnership

Ryan McDonnell, GB chief executive, Lidl

Ryan McDonnell, GB chief executive, Lidl

Lyssa McGowan, chief executive, Pets at Home

Lyssa McGowan, chief executive, Pets at Home

Michael Murray, chief executive, Frasers Group

Michael Murray, chief executive, Frasers Group

Sam Perkins, chief executive, InTheStyle

Sam Perkins, chief executive, In The Style

Sam Perkins, chief executive, In The Style

Next up: The Retail 100 Ones to Watch

While they have not made our main index this year, the names below are those that Retail Week believe will either be driving major growth at the helm of UK retailers in the next five years or those that are already leading a burgeoning retailer or brand set to become an even bigger name. Roisin Currie and Sam Perkins, for instance, are among those in the Ones to Watch that are fresh into their roles so all eyes will be on them as to how they steer their businesses forward in the next 12 months.

  • Charles Allen, chair, The Hut Group
  • Graham Biggart, chief transformation officer, Sainsbury’s
  • Lisa Cherry, executive director for people, John Lewis
  • Roisin Currie, chief executive, Greggs
  • Jonathan Hirst, chief executive, Dreams
  • Shirine Khoury-Haq, interim group chief executive, The Co-op
  • Charlotte Lock, customer director, John Lewis Partnership
  • Trevor Masters, chief executive, Pepco
  • Ryan McDonnell, GB chief executive, Lidl
  • Lyssa McGowan, chief executive, Pets at Home
  • Michael Murray, chief executive, Frasers Group
  • Leena Nair, chief executive, Chanel
  • Sam Perkins, chief executive, In The Style
  • Jonathan Ram, chief executive, Clarks
  • Alex Russo, chief financial officer and incoming chief executive, B&M

The Retail 100 2022 methodology

Decided by Retail Week’s team of esteemed journalists, incorporating research from February to June 6, 2022, the Retail 100 was decided based on the following categories. It recognises the retail leaders making the biggest in-roads across these six areas:

  • The Dealmakers – whether it is acquisitions, partnerships or third-party tie-ups, these are the retail leaders collaborating for success
  • The Disruptors – the people disrupting traditional retail models and shaking up industries, keeping the sector on its toes
  • The Experience Innovators – those driving innovation in the experience economy, leading CX innovation and reigniting the thrill of shopping
  • The People Champions – retail leaders that are voices for the industry, actively campaigning for retail staff, promoting inclusivity, and driving culture and purpose
  • The Strategists – the retail bosses driving significant change in a variety of different ways, from adopting new channels and technologies to new ways of thinking
  • The Sustainability Activists – those actively progressing ESG agendas and leading by example, not merely paying lip service to sustainability

All profile information correct as of June 6, 2022.

Partner viewpoints

Shilpi Narang, vice-president for customer experience, Bolt

Bolt logo

It is time to redefine what we consider success and great leadership.

This year’s Retail 100 focuses on a range of leadership factors that are transforming retail for the better. Being different, disrupting the status quo, championing culture and purpose, and being conscious of our impact on others are all factors synonymous with the leaders and organisations we most admire today.

At Bolt, we aim to contribute by not only providing an innovative online checkout experience, but by showing a different kind of leadership through our commitments to a conscious culture. That is why we feel honoured to be learning from the 100 inspiring leaders featured in this year’s list. 

Creating an environment for accountability between management, colleagues and customers has never been more critical for businesses. It results in a ripple effect that reaches far beyond company culture, into the broader world.

We congratulate all the leaders named in the Retail 100, not only for being successful during testing times but for creating their own brand of conscious culture.

James Manderson, Braze

James Manderson, senior vice-president
for global customer success, Braze 

Braze logo

At Braze we are proud to once again partner with Retail Week’s annual Retail 100 to celebrate those individuals and brands who are transforming the industry, innovating and driving sustainable growth in uncertain times. 

Although many parts of our lives are ‘back to normal’, consumers and retailers are still feeling the effects of the recent years of turmoil. 

Furthermore, recent research by Braze and Censuswide shows that the increasing cost of living is motivating 82% of UK consumers to cut back on non-essential spending. This is a time for retailers to re-evaluate their offering to consumers and to provide customer engagement in a sensitive and personalised way that will build stronger brand loyalty in the long run and boost customer retention. 

By building a personal connection with customers and using first-party data to design meaningful and empathetic experiences, retailers can strongly position themselves to support consumers during this tough economic period. 

Congratulations to those inspiring individuals who made it into this year’s ranking. The future of retail looks bright.

Sebastien Sepierre

Sebastien Sepierre, managing director for EMEA, Fourth

fourth logo

The Retail 100 celebrates the many retailers who are managing to thrive despite the challenges of the past few years. Where retailers have recently spent a lot of focus on adjusting business models to fit with changing consumer needs and behaviour during the pandemic, we now see them needing to look more inwardly at how they can better support their workforce.

Our recent research suggests 99% of retailers are worried about talent shortages this year, up from 94% in September 2021, and retail employees are seeking more financial support amid the rising cost of living.

While consumer spending and purchasing habits remain unpredictable, retailers must be sure to seek improvements in how they engage, communicate with and retain their employees through this difficult period. Our data suggests retail employers have payroll, scheduling and communication challenges to overcome, and we see that demand for workforce management technology is on the rise in line with this. Not only is this a positive sign that retail leaders are paying attention to their people’s needs, it is also timely given the introduction of The People Champions among the Retail 100, recognising their focus on culture and purpose.

We wish a huge congratulations to this year’s Retail 100 on their hard work throughout one of retail’s most challenging periods and look forward to seeing their successes continue.

Mark Guest

Mark Guest, managing director for retail, Webhelp

Webhelp logo

The Retail 100 is the go-to source to learn more about the people who are truly transforming our sector and we extend our warmest congratulations to everyone who features this year. 

It has been another year of disruption, change and pressures. Supply chain management has seldom been more complex, consumer confidence remains fragile, attracting and retaining staff is a continued challenge – with ethical and sustainability issues being more important than ever. This is all set against a backdrop where customer expectations remain incredibly high. 

These challenges also present retail organisations with opportunities to transform their operations for the benefit of customers and staff alike. This will require retailers to show their human side, understand their customers, champion sustainability and diversity, and work in a collaborative way – free from historical, hierarchical structures. 

This is why it is fantastic to see this year’s Retail 100 recognise those leaders who operate beyond the position of CEO, representing the wider c-suite through roles including chief digital officers, chief people officers and chief operations officers. 

With 92% of customer experience leaders, according to our research, planning to transform their customer operations in the next 12 months, it is those on the Retail 100 who will provide inspiration for this change.   

Once again, our congratulations to this incredibly talented group of people. 

Content lead: Megan Dunsby

Writers: Grace Bowden, Megan Dunsby, George MacDonald, Rebecca Thomson, Luke Tugby

Sales leads: Imogen Jones, Julia Jones, Caroline Londono

Production: Stephen Eddie, Emily Kearns

Design: Alban Bizet

The Retail 100 is independent editorial content produced by Retail Week and decided by Retail Week’s team of journalists. It has not been shown to sponsors Bolt, Braze, Fourth or Webhelp prior to publication for approval.

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