Race for Retail Transformation

With the retail sector going through tumultuous change, it’s never been harder to be a leader. The digital revolution has changed consumer behaviour, trusted business models have failed to adapt. Retailers are struggling to stay relevant. But for those that can align their offer to meet customer needs and expectations – and then deliver – the opportunities are endless.

Against this background, Green Park and the World Retail Congress launched a global research study in April 2016 – The DNA of the Future Retail CEO  that maps the transformation in the skills that senior retailers need.

We surveyed and interviewed a global peer group of 100 Chairs, CEOs and senior executives and found that many of today’s leaders – and their potential successors – lacked the necessary understanding of transformational change, the need for a deeper connection with customers, and the digital and data skills required for the role. We identified a framework of “DNA Building Blocks” for the successful development of future CEOs.


Following the study’s publication, retail boards asked us to explore organisational readiness for transformational change. So this year we are launching our second global study, The DNA of the Retailers of Tomorrow. For this report, we’ve selected a research team that brings together individual, unique and market-leading perspectives: Green Park and the World Retail Congress collaborating with Planet Retail RNG, TrueStart and EY.

We will deliver the study in two phases, with phase one launched at the World Retail Congress in April, 2017. The final study will follow in the autumn. For more information, please contact us at s.baggi@green-park.co.uk.


Retail leaders know they have to embrace radical change. Recent research from EY shows that over 8 in 10 (81%) of senior retail executives recognise the need for bolder measures, while the same number report growing pressure to change their operating models. This is why we created The DNA of the Retailers of Tomorrow.

The study will stimulate and frame a global conversation around retail transformation, identify the key building blocks underpinning successful retail transformation, and produce a new global framework to help retailers understand their progress.

We will deliver the study in two research phases. Phase one will launch at the World Retail Congress in April 2017.

The initial findings we explore in the first phase are based on six months of research, including a survey and in-depth interviews with over 150 Chairs, CEOs and senior executives from the retail sector globally.

We worked with our Advisory Forum to scope out the key themes underlying retail transformation and then tested and expanded these themes through wider conversation with global senior retailers. These themes became the 10 DNA BLOCKS OF TRANSFORMATION™.

Phase two will focus on further engagement with the global retail community. We will look at each of the 10 DNA BLOCKS OF TRANSFORMATION™ in depth and highlight global best practices and case studies. Ultimately, we will develop a new global framework for retail transformation against which retailers from across the world can assess themselves.

For phase two to be successful, participation is essential. To get involved, contact Steve Baggi, Co-founder of Green Park and Author of The DNA Series at s.baggi@green-park.co.uk.

To download your copy of The DNA of the Retailers of Tomorrow: Phase One, launched at the World Retail Congress in April 2017, click here.

“Understanding the complexity of transformation is the most difficult challenge most retailers are facing. Those who are successful in mastering this will be the retailers of the future and this study will get us one step closer to pinpointing just who those companies may be.”

Lord Stuart Rose


This innovative study will be supported by an esteemed advisory board and industry forum, comprising of the world’s most senior retail professionals. Chairs, CEOs and other senior executives will help us identify, define and prioritise the DNA criteria by which retail organisations transformation journey can be measured. This panel of global influential retailers will provide insight and advice, share new thinking and innovations, challenge assumptions and debate future threats and opportunities to the sector.

Our advisory board includes:



Chair of US International Economic Policy Committee; Member of the Administrative Board of Escada SE; Non-Executive Director of Unifi Inc.



Chair of Debenhams plc, Menhaden Capital; SID of Whitbread plc; Government Lead Non-Executive Director.



Non-Executive Director of Coca Cola European Partners plc, Sonae plc, Brambles plc, Kathmandu plc, Fenwick Ltd, Hilton Food Group plc, Plantasgen.



Group Executive Board Member - Multichannel Retail, Otto Group; Chair of Crate & Barrel and SportScheck.



Chair of Ocado Group plc; Fat Face Group Limited; Oasis Healthcare Ltd;Stylemania Ltd; Non-Executive Director of RM2 International S.A.; Woolworths Holdings Ltd.



Deputy Chair of El Corte Inglés; Director of World Wide Retail Exchange; Marco Polo Investments and Fundacion Ramon Areces.

Our continually expanding industry forum includes:


President of Fashion Lifestyle at Deckers, Deckers Brands


Chief Executive Officer, Karen Millen


Professor of Retail, Glasgow Caledonian University


Strategy Director, Terra Firma Capital Partners


Managing Director, Fung Global Retail & Technology


Group Director, People, Culture & Communications, Primark


Managing Director, Coles


Group Human Resources Director, Body Shop


Chief Executive Officer, LLX Global Business Services


Chief Executive Officer, Hunkemöller


Chief Executive Officer, Co-Op Group


Human Resources and Retail Director, Harrods

Our advisory board and industry forums are continually evolving. If your organisation would like to be involved in this ground breaking study please email s.baggi@green-park.co.uk.


The DNA of the Retailers of Tomorrow

Phase Two will launch in Autumn 2017

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Updates & Blog

Blog: Traditional Retail in Meltdown: Will the UK follow the US?

In the past few weeks the widening gap between traditional and non-traditional retailers has become ever more apparent. While a leading global online retailer has reached a new benchmark of trading at $1,000 per share, a family favourite department store has revealed a first quarter loss of $230 million.

Blog: Thoughts from World Retail Congress 2017

There’s no blueprint for transforming retail and there are many different ways of winning. That could explain why most retailers are very much at the beginning of their digital transformation journeys – or have not even left the station. The retailers we talked to at this year’s World Retail Congress in Dubai that have built […]

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While almost all recognise the extent of structural shifts, most believe their businesses have barely begun to adapt, a study has shown.

In the News: Retailers aware of disruption, but fall short in taking action

Retail executives know their industry is going through fundamental and massive change, but that doesn’t mean they are taking action to deal with it.

In the News: Retailers face widening gap between where they are and where they should be, study finds ahead of IRX 2017

Retailers across the world are aware a threatening combination of transforming forces – driven by customer service, personalisation and mobile – are disrupting their industry.

Press Release: ‘Action Gap’ in Global Retail

98% of global retail executives recognise transforming forces are disrupting the industry
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Blog: What can Christmas 2016 teach us about 2017?

While Morrison’s seasonal food sales were up on last year, online retailers such as Boohoo and ASOS experienced greater rates of sales growth than traditional retailers this Christmas shopping season.

Blog: Hello from the ‘other side’

How difficult is it for retail brands to secure the senior leaders they need to remain competitive and compelling and take their companies forward while still delivering returns to shareholders?

Blog: From the Beginning…

As we embark on the final research stages of The DNA of the Retailers of Tomorrow, I am delighted to be writing the first blog post in what I hope will become an exciting series of insights …

In the News: Retail Veterans ‘must give way to a new generation’

Retailers might think that they have the best executives sitting in their boardrooms, but nine out of ten boards will be “past their sell-by date” in five years’ time, an industry report is warning.

Press Release: Green Park partners with World Retail Congress

Green Park is delighted to be partnering with World Retail Congress on our upcoming whitepaper ‘The DNA of the Future Retail CEO’…

Who We Are


Green Park  is an award-winning supplier of executive resourcing and leadership advisory services, operating across the UK and internationally. Green Park’s Retail and Consumer Practice has over 50 years’ collective experience and is headed by Steve Baggi, author of the Retail DNA Series and a prominent thought leader in retail executive leadership. Green Park’s enviable track record includes delivering executive leadership, board consulting and senior talent solutions across all retail sector verticals.

World Retail Congress

World Retail Congress was founded in 2007 in response to retailers seeking a platform for senior leaders to come together to discuss the major issues and trends affecting the industry. In delivering this agenda, the Congress has welcomed over one thousand senior retail speakers, from some of the world’s biggest, to the newest businesses, as well as leading industry stakeholders from global economics, politics, finance and NGOs.

Planet Retail

Planet Retail RNG partners with over 30,000 retail professionals around the world to drive dynamic strategies through an intuitive online platform and bespoke consultancy service. The world’s leading retailers, suppliers, banks and consultancies rely on Planet Retail RNG’s expertise to power brilliant commercial decision-making. Planet Retail RNG provides global data and insights to retailers, FMCGs, retail technology vendors and professional services organisations with actionable retail insights that create competitive advantage.

True Start

TrueStart connects the most innovative and disruptive startups with the most influential people in the retail and consumer industry. Its network enables it to enjoy daily access to entrepreneurs, retail and business executives, and industry experts. Through this – and the team’s skills in finding, funding, developing and growing innovative retail and consumer businesses – enables TrueStart to lead and influence a rapidly changing sector.

EY is one of the world’s largest professional services firms. It has 18,000 people focused on the retail sector and works with over 90% of the retail and wholesale companies in the S&P Global 1200. EY helps retail clients transform every aspect of their business – so they provide the seamless, personalised, omni-channel experience customers demand, in a way that delivers profitable growth now and in the future.