The new Pandora managing director, Brien Winther, has an affinity with retail that will shape the way he does business in the UK – and he has vowed to talk retailers’ language as he takes a hands-on approach to driving market share.
Winther, who previously worked as the president of Pandora in Australia & New Zealand, hails from a strong retail background in his home market.
And, in his first interview since starting the role on January 3, he exclusively revealed to Professional Jeweller that before officially taking over he spent two weeks travelling the UK to meet some of the jewellery giant’s franchise partners.
His desire to see how partners are running their business and understand the challenges they face is set to dictate his calendar for the first half of the year, he confirmed.
“I need to get into the stores and find out what is going on out there,” shares Winther. “That’s not 30 days or six months, that’s my role. My role is to find out what our franchise partners want, what our teams want and what our stores want. I’ve been out to visit stores with a number of our sales team and it is an ongoing process.”
Winther plans to meet retailers one-on-one and visit their stores in a bid to get to know the store owners, their businesses, and their staff. “It’s a dangerous place to run a retail business from behind a desk,” he warns.
The new managing director’s first impression of the UK market is that the brand’s franchise partners are extremely passionate, and he sees plenty of opportunities for growth.
In terms of what partners can expect from him a boss, Winther says first and foremost he is a retailer.
“What can the retailers expect from me? I am a retailer,” Winther explains. “I will talk their language, I want to get in to stores, I want to find out what is happening in stores, and I will talk a lot about operational improvements in the business. How do we do more with what we’ve got? How do we make sure that our teams are able to provide a great consumer experience? Because at the end of the day consumers come back to where they’ve had a great experience. It’s not about product and price. It’s about the experience.”
He continues: “My background is retail, so I think I have a real affinity with retail and store managers and store staff. I understand that my role is to generate profits for our retailers. We can’t grow unless they grow; we can’t be profitable unless they’re profitable.”
Winther vows to be a hands-on managing director, and already has ideas for the UK business. He says his area of passion and expertise is in learning and development, and he will be using this to shape his first year at the helm.