Al-Futtaim to Grow Stronger on Willett's Customer Blueprint

New CEO Takes Charge of Leading the Group into a new era of Change

Jun 13, 2010, 10:58 ET from GMASCO

DUBAI, EAU, June 13, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- Robert Willett, the former CEO of Best Buy International, has placed organic growth and customer centricity as cornerstones of the Al-Futtaim group's march into a new era of positive change; building on the solid foundations in place. Al-Futtaim is the leading business conglomerate in the Middle East region.

Describing himself as a simple shopkeeper, the UK business veteran will take the reins at Al-Futtaim as Group Chief Executive Officer and stay laser-focused on getting closer to customers of the family-owned business which operates through 65 companies in Automotive, Real Estate and Construction, Financial Services, Engineering, Electronics, Technologies, Retail, Education, General Services, Leisure and Joint Ventures in 13 countries.

Omar A. Al Futtaim, Vice Chairman, Al-Futtaim said: "I welcome Bob as the Group CEO. He and I have shared several insights and strategies on the way forward and he has truly understood the company's overall values and footprint. When Bob describes himself as a 'simple shopkeeper,' it's his way of acknowledging that he has maintained his humility and kept his priorities straight - it's all about the customer. I am confident he will bring considerable strategic experience to the Group and enable us become truly customer centric."

"Keeping it simple is how we are going to do things," said Mr. Willett. "I'm paranoid about maximising the customer experience so my guiding principle to grow the Al-Futtaim business across the landscape comes from this simple premise: Focus on the customer and make sure you do the right thing from the employees' perspective."

"Al-Futtaim has the pedigree, people and products to grow significantly across the region and increase its relevance to its local customers and society across multiple industries. Most importantly it has a stable of brands that any simple shopkeeper like me would die for," said Mr. Willett as he continues touring Al-Futtaim businesses currently operating in 13 countries.

To support his customer centricity focus, Willett has laid out several good housekeeping strategies in his quest to focus on nearly 20,000 direct and indirect Group associates in the GCC countries alone, plus Egypt, Syria, Morocco, Singapore, Malaysia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Western Europe.

"Our people are our 'secret sauce' we will go to great lengths to make sure everyone in the Group plays a greater part in the business, a lesson learned from Best Buy, one of the finest companies in the world," said Willett, a history buff who satisfies his quest for knowledge through reading and listening.

Under Willett's leadership, Best Buy International implemented a global 'multi channel' growth strategy to maximise the retailer's opportunities beyond North America, entering China, Mexico, Turkey and 9 countries in Europe, in addition to Canada. Willett led the acquisition of Carphone Warehouse in Europe to build out the capabilities of Best Buy, enabling it to accelerate its progress to the "Connected World".

Willett, who began his career with Marks & Spencer in the UK, has distinguished himself creditably on the international retailing landscape by holding group CEO and Managing Director positions in major companies across Europe, Asia and the US.

Prior to Best Buy, Willett was Global Managing Partner of Accenture's retail practices and Executive Committee member of the global management consultancy. Willett is also a member of the LightHaus Logic Board, an analytics systems provider in Canada.

    For any further media enquiries please contact:

    David D'Souza
    Director, Public Relations
    GMASCO - An Al-Futtaim group company
    Tel: +971-4-228-2101