Meet the Judges

Sean Ghouse

UK Retail Director
Fortnum & Mason
Sean Ghouse is the UK Retail Director for Fortnum & Mason, with a career in Retail which began almost 30 years ago, working part time in menswear brand Ciro Citterio on Regent Street, whilst attending university completing a BA honours in Human Resource Management & Psychology at Southbank University. Sean’s passion for product, customers andRead more >...
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Gill Smith, MD of The Perfume Shop

Gill Smith

Managing Director
The Perfume Shop
Gill Smith is the Managing Director at The Perfume Shop and has spent over 20 years working in the FMCG sector. After qualifying as a chartered accountant, she held various senior finance roles in the wines and spirits industry early on in her career before moving into retail in 2006 when she joined The PerfumeRead more >...
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Liz Jewitt-Cross

Future HR
Liz is the founder of Future HR specialising in Strategy, People & Organisation Development, Business & HR Transformation & Change Liz wears several hats working as an Independent  Consultant, Non-Executive Director, Interim Executive Leader and Adviser to Boards, CEO’s and People Leaders, with a track record of very successfully assisting many of our most recognisedRead more >...
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Maria Hollins

Chief Executive Officer
Ann Summers
Maria is Chief Executive of Ann Summers, and over the past four years, has been responsible for leading the turnaround and growth of the iconic multi-channel retailer as it continues its mission to empower all. Originally joining Ann Summers as a commercial consultant in July 2018, Maria was appointed Joint Managing Director in February 2019Read more >...
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Tea Colaianni

NED, Founder and CEO
WiHTL & Diversity in Retail
Tea Colaianni has more than 25 years experience in consumer facing industries gained in organisations like Hilton Hotels and Merlin Entertainments. A lawyer by training, after a successful executive career as Chief People Officer, Tea has built a broad advisory portfolio serving on multiple boards as a Non-Executive Director. She is currently Senior Independent DirectorRead more >...
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Nick Singh

Deputy Market Manager
Narinder (Nick) Singh is a seasoned professional with over 15 years of dedicated service to IKEA. Starting as a part-time sales assistant at 19, Nick’s journey within the company has been marked by dynamic leadership and a commitment to fostering diversity and inclusion. Through various roles, including that of People & Culture Manager and hisRead more >...
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Penny Grivea

Ex-Rituals, CEO, Advisor, NED
Penny is a dynamic executive renowned for her transformative leadership in the luxury and lifestyle sectors, with a distinguished career spanning over 25 years. As the former Managing Director of Rituals, Penny orchestrated the brand’s remarkable growth in the UK & Ireland, expanding its retail presence from 9 to 80 standalone stores and forging strategicRead more >...
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Stuart Trevor

Founder & CEO
Stuart Trevor, AllSaints
Stuart Trevor is a seasoned veteran in the retail industry, boasting over 35 years of experience. His journey began at the age of 18 when he joined Reiss, where he honed his skills and laid the foundation for a remarkable career. At 28, he made waves in the fashion world by founding All Saints, aRead more >...
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Olaf Akkerman

General Manager Retail & Consumer Goods
Microsoft UK
Olaf is a member of Microsoft’s UK Senior Leadership Team and leads the Retail & Consumer Goods Industries. A seasoned leader in the UK tech industry for more than 20 years, Olaf drives a customer first approach and focusses on building inclusive and high performing cultures. Olaf and his team work closely with a diverseRead more >...
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Giles Smith

Digital Technology Director
Giles Smith is a world class, global digital technology leader with a proven track record in building outstanding product, delivery and engineering teams. He is passionate about fostering diverse, bottom-up, and empowered cultures that prioritise teamwork. Giles has deep industry knowledge in digital strategy, technology, and customer experience, coupled with effective communication and on-time, on-budgetRead more >...
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Fiona Lambert

President, Board Advisor, Ambassador
The Twenty Club
Fiona Lambert is one of the UK’s leading business women in Fashion Retail. She is President of The Twenty Club and was most recently Managing Director of Jaeger, previously holding C-suite roles with major retailers, Next, Dunelm, River Island, Jaeger at M&S and George at Asda, of which she was part of the inception nextRead more >...
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Glynn Davis

Retail Insider
Glynn Davis is a recognised authority in retail and renowned business journalist, delivering insightful articles and commentary on the industry and across a range of publications, including The Retail Bulletin, Caterer, Propel, and Computer Weekly. He is the founder and editor of Retail Insider and offers consultancy and media advisory services to various businesses. WithRead more >...
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Catriona Gault

Head of People
Sue Ryder
Cat Gault is Head of People, Resourcing and Administration at Sue Ryder, where she has worked since March 2019 initially in the post of Head of Recruitment before assuming the additional responsibility of first line HR support in June 2022. Prior to working at Sue Ryder, Cat held a number of recruitment posts in globalRead more >...
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Heather Lee

Chief People Officer
Lincolnshire Co-op
Heather is a distinguished strategic leader and HR professional, currently serving as the Chief People Officer for Lincolnshire Co-operative. Renowned for its exceptional employment practices, the organisation holds accolades such as Investors in People Platinum, Disability Confident Leading, and is a dedicated Mindful Employer. Heather brings a wealth of sector expertise, having navigated the realmsRead more >...
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Martin Newman

Founder & Consumer Champion
The Customer First Group
Martin Newman, The Consumer Champion, is a globally renowned authority in Customer Centricity and Customer Experience. With four decades of experience in the consumer-facing sector, he has revolutionised multichannel operations for brands like Burberry, Ted Baker, Intersport, and Harrods and scaled and sold global ecommerce agency Practicology. As the Founder of The Customer First Group and Customer ServiceRead more >...
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Charlotte Rees-John

National Head of Retail, Leisure and Hospitality
Irwin Mitchell LLP
Charlotte Rees-John is the Employment Partner and Head of Retail, Leisure & Hospitality Sector at Irwin Mitchell. She is also an Employment Partner with over 20 years’ experience. She acts for a number of key clients including Costa Coffee, PureGym and McArthurGlen and has worked for many other well-known brands in the Consumer Sector includingRead more >...
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Jo Causon

Institute of Customer Service
Jo, appointed as CEO in 2009, has led the Institute, achieving a 150% membership growth and establishing the UK Customer Satisfaction Index as a national benchmark. With over 11 years at Aviva plc and a non-executive director role at Aegon UK, Jo brings a wealth of commercial experience, focusing on integrating customer service into boardroomRead more >...
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Phil Vickers

Director of HR (UK & USA)
Charles Tyrwhitt
Phil Vickers, the Director of HR at Charles Tyrwhitt for over six years, has been a driving force in shaping a workplace culture rooted in transparency and open communication. As a crucial member of the operating board, he strategically builds an environment where employees thrive, achieving a delicate balance between challenge and support. Phil’s leadershipRead more >...
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Alison Payne

People Director
Judge 2024 As COOK’s People Director, Alison Payne is passionate about inclusive policies and structures that facilitate the needs of a fast-paced growing business, with happier people and customers year on year. Wellbeing (physical, mental and financial) has always been high on the COOK agenda. Alison leads her team to look after everyone in theirRead more >...
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Chris Brook-Carter

Chief Executive Officer
The Retail Trust
Chris has been a passionate supporter, advocate and champion of UK retail across his entire career. Prior to joining the Retail Trust, Chris was the Managing Director and Senior Vice President of Retail Week and the World Retail Congress. Chris led these brands, as editor in chief or more recently as MD & SVP forRead more >...
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