When retail experience is no help

Does it matter that the person soon to be in charge of transformation and technology at John Lewis doesn’t know anything about retail?

Zak Mian, a former Lloyds Bank director, has been appointed as new chief transformation & technology officer, as it gets to grip with the reality that quite soon, on line sales will be bigger than brick and mortar.

Mian has over many years’ experience of leading business transformation and technology teams, and was group transformation director at Lloyds where he led the digital transformation. And financial services can at least boast that it has rigorous processes when it comes to vendor management and project management.

It is this experience that overrides any lack of retail experience. Insiders will now that John Lewis has been in the grip of a few, long-standing tech vendors for many years now and has been unable to rein them in to serve the greater plan. The company also has significant legacy with management to boot, that has held the business back.

There has already been some criticism as to Mian’s lack of retail experience, but in the particular case of John Lewis, this looks, purely from the point of view of tech management and delivery, like a very sound appointment.


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