Ikea’s appointment of Javier Quiñones as its new country retail manager for the UK and Ireland counts as one of the least surprising moves of the year in my book.
Some retailers – John Lewis being another example – have fostered such a distinctive cultural identity that promoting from within always feels like the safest and most sensible option.
An Ikea veteran of more than 20 years, Quiñones will step up from his current role of deputy country manager in June replacing his current boss, Ikea lifer Gillian Drakeford.
In partnership over the past three years, Drakeford and Quiñones have overseen a sustained improvement in the performance of the UK business. Although main store expansion has been relatively slow, sales growth has been positive as more people visited Ikea stores and shopped via its website. Under their leadership, the retailer has also opened a number of smaller ‘Order and Collection points’ in four locations across the UK.
Drakeford has acknowledged Quiñones’s role as being integral to these achievements and suggests his passion for the brand make him an ideal successor.
There’s certainly something about working for Ikea that breeds devotion among many of its staff. Employees talk about “being an Ikea person” in a way that suggests a deep and meaningful cultural attachment to the organisation.
It’s no surprise, therefore, to see the retailer promote from within. Quiñones has spent much of his career to date in Spain having joined Ikea Badalona in Barcelona as a part-time member of staff in the self-service department, before taking up various roles with Ikea Spain including sales manager and store manager.
Drakeford, meanwhile, will stay within the wider Ikea Group in a retail system manager role with its worldwide franchise business, Inter Ikea Systems.
She is highly respected and liked within a business she joined back in 1987, forming part of the original management team that opened the company’s first UK store in Warrington.
Drakeford is said to have an inclusive, approachable management style which she brought to bear during a successful spell as country manager of Ikea China where she developed local senior leadership in Ikea stores.
Quiñones’s promotion should ensure a seamless transition to a new regime. After all, if it ain’t broke why fix it?