I often hear people touted as a future star of retail, mostly with good reason. We are fortunate as an industry to still have a strong production line of talent, despite the lure of sectors perceived as more glamorous such as technology and financial services.
Craig McGregor certainly falls into that category. The CEO of a former employer marked McGregor out as a “next-generation leader” – an opinion shared by the entire board of directors – and he certainly exhibits many of the traits that characterise those with the potential to reach the very top of the ladder.
Wilko is the latest retailer to benefit from McGregor’s talents, where he will fill the significant gap left by outgoing retail director Anthony Houghton.
McGregor boasts over 15 years’ senior leadership experience, most notably as retail director of Topshop/Topman where he was highly regarded by his peers and played a key role in building the fashion chains into global brands.
The Sheffield University graduate has also spent time at Matalan and Debenhams and most recently served as UK retail director for Specsavers.
He is held in high regard in part because of the strategic clarity he brings to roles and his ability to cut through complexity to deliver results.
He also understands the interplay between different channels, something that will have attracted Wilko as it continues on its journey to becoming a product led business.
But most of all, McGregor catches the eye because of his people management skills. Former team members describe him as someone who is always approachable and empowers his teams to deliver results.
He is also a great advocate for succession planning and promoting talent from within and is an effective communicator at all levels of an organisation – from the boardroom to the shop floor.
His arrival at Wilko marks a departure from the fashion sector where McGregor has spent the majority of his retail career. But this is a business determined to build a team of all talents that can execute its bold growth plans. As a crucial member of that team, the ambitious McGregor will have a platform to showcase the qualities that mark him out as a CEO in waiting.