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Meet Richard - Europe eCommerce Customer Lead
My role is European eCommerce Customer Lead, with responsibility for the development of our joint business with Amazon across Europe.
“The feedback on success or failure is very fast in eCommerce which encourages an iterative process of learning and development.”
Tuesday, February 01, 2022
What is your current role?
My role is European eCommerce Customer Lead, with responsibility for the development of our joint business with Amazon across Europe. Aside from spending time with my counterparts at Amazon to identify our mutual opportunities in this rapidly evolving marketplace, I also spend much of my working day with MDLZ colleagues across the European markets and in the US. I took on this role because the challenge of building a pan-European business with this Pureplay online retailer involves a slightly broader brief than the traditional commercial one. It requires us to craft a different approach with our supply chain, marketing, finance and technology teams, in addition to sales. The opportunity to play my part in this change was an exciting one and that has certainly proved to be the case!
What makes e-commerce at MDLZ so exciting?
We work with brands that people know and love in a retail environment that as everyone knows, changes with fantastic speed. Given the way that technology evolves to meet ever-changing shopper needs, adapting our offer to ensure that our famous brands stay relevant to consumers is an enjoyable challenge. The feedback on success or failure is very fast in eCommerce, often quicker than in other sales channels, which encourages an iterative process of learning and development. So, when you get it right, you're doing so in environments that everyone can see on brands that millions of people care about. What's not to like?!
How do you see the future of e-commerce develop at MDLZ?
eCommerce is still a relatively young channel and we are all developing our skill-sets to meet the new demands that it places upon us, both as individuals and an overall business. Digital commerce will, by necessity, become embedded in how we think and how we organize ourselves as the channel becomes ever more relevant. While we inevitably need to make broad forecasts into the future, I don't think that we need to precisely predict the nature of the external landscape in 10 years’ time. What we can do is ensure that we have the mindset and the tools at our disposal to meet the challenges that will come to us quickly and effectively.
How has your career developed at MDLZ?
I joined what was the Cadbury business at the time, first in a role called Sales Executive. This involved driving a purple van to a portfolio of independent retailers across rural England, selling cases of Cadbury Dairy Milk. I have to say that many of the lessons that I learned during this time stood me in very good stead for my future roles! I have spent most of my 15 years in MDLZ as part of our World Travel Retail (WTR) team, which is a business unit responsible for sales in airports, airlines in-flight, ferries and border stores around the world. I consider it a privilege to have had opportunities in Sales, Brand Marketing and latterly as Head of Shopper Marketing in what is wonderfully diverse business. WTR gave me the chance to see places and meet people that I never would have had otherwise. It helped to shape me as a person and I'll always be grateful for that. Moving to eCommerce was a big step for me professionally in that I had a lot to learn about a new retail channel and an entirely new team setup. It was also a big step personally as my wife, two children and I relocated from London to Zurich for the new job. I'm pleased that I made the slightly brave choice to move - it has started out to be a great experience.
What type of projects or experiences (i.e. shaping, functional experiences, international) have you done to help grow your career in different ways at Mondelēz?
Moving from sales to marketing helped me to look at the business from another perspective, with a broader customer and timescale horizon. My first people management experience was one that helped me to confirm a suspicion that I would enjoy it, but also reinforced the responsibility involved in being someone's boss. My first role with global responsibility, with focus on the Middle East & Asia Pacific, enabled me to counter my European viewpoint and certainly helped me to be more adaptable in my approach. Having the opportunity to build both digital and sustainability strategies for our World Travel Retail business units helped me to practice thinking in a broader, more strategic, way while also making me accountable for delivering on them. Finally, moving from the UK to Switzerland helped me to understand more about not just my new country, but also myself as well. So, it has been great to have the opportunity for functional, shaping and international experiences. They have all given me something different and I would like to think that I am better at my current job for all of them.
What is your view on diversity at MDLZ? What do we do well and what can we improve?
I have spent the majority of my MDLZ career in teams with diversity of nationality, background and thought. The most effective groups of which I have been a part have had that blend of perspectives. And on a more fundamental level, we all want to feel heard and to be treated fairly. My experience of MDLZ in this regard has certainly been a positive one. But, like any organization in this era, we couldn't say that we're perfect. We do need to continue to broaden representation at certain levels of the business. I see a lot of positive intent and (more importantly) action, to make me hopeful that we can deliver a level of diversity that properly represents the world in which we live.