Berwick Partners & Odgers Berndtson hosted this years’ Annual Northern Consumer & Retail Dinner on Wednesday 2nd November 2016 at the Radisson Blu, Manchester. This annual dinner has become a popular event and provides a great opportunity for leaders of the Consumer & Retail business community across the North to come together. This year saw a significant number of Chief Executives, Chair and Non-Executive Directors from a range of different industries attending.
Guest speaker for the evening was Jonathan Myers; former Vice President & General Manager UK & Ireland of Kellogg’s, the iconic Manchester based business. Until very recently Jonathan was responsible for overseeing Kellogg's second largest business, employing around 2,500 in the UK & Ireland. Making and selling a stable of much-loved products and brands which can be found in 80% of British households. His career spans many years in the leadership of FMCG businesses, initially with Proctor & Gamble where he led a number of the company’s business units across the world for over twenty years, most laterally as head of its oral care business in China.
Jonathan gave an insightful and highly entertaining speech, discussing his experiences and thoughts relating to building brands both in the UK and overseas, across geographies ranging from Western Europe, Asia and Latin America, followed by an extensive Q & A session.
He made reference to the obvious challenges that most Consumer & Retail ‘branded’ businesses face currently, but reiterated that with a genuine belief in the brand and real innovative thinking, branded businesses can not only survive but can thrive and grow despite the difficult climate.
Jonathan then raised a number of questions for the audience to ponder and discuss, including; can brands travel? How do we stimulate demand in the current environment? What about pricing? And what should be done in the current arena of disruption and disorder? To the latter point, he candidly stated that in his opinion that the only solution was to be bold… being ‘in all or all out’!
The evening provided a fantastic opportunity to gain further insight into a sector that has experienced an unprecedented amount of change in recent years, and how various organisations have dealt with such change. The Q & A session provided an opportunity for guests to delve deeper into the topics discussed, and it was clear from the questions that Jonathan’s talk had provided real food for thought for our audience.