Former Executive Director of Tesco Plc and current Chairman of Poundland kicks off Distinguished Leaders Series 2013/14

Posted on Thursday 31st October 2013

The 2013/14 run of the Distinguished Leaders Series began on 23rd October with Andrew Higginson, Chairman of Poundland, visiting Birmingham Business School to reflect on his personal journey in business and discuss the qualities of a great leader. Andy has spent 22 years in retail and was the Executive Director of Tesco Plc for 15 years.

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As part of his visit, Andy took part in a round-table discussion with a number of students from our undergraduate, postgraduate and MBA programmes, where they had the opportunity to put their questions to him.

About his time at Tesco, Andrew was involved in the “Every Little Helps” branding, saying that the importance of the smaller things; little price drops, shorter queues and more parking, would keep customers returning to their stores as there was “no eureka moment where we could offer products 10% cheaper."

During the discussion, he commented that “you learn more in adversity than in good times”, with the 2008/09 recession bringing a refocus on value. 

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When asked about the most profound effect in business, Andrew stated that the Internet has been the biggest revelation, with book, music and video retailing almost disappearing.

For anyone looking to succeed in today’s business world, his advice was to have a skill that is hard to replicate as being able to originate and being “only able to get it from me” is what will make you stand out.

We caught up with Andrew to find out about his career, his connection to the University of Birmingham and hear his advice to students aspiring to go into leadership roles.

Find out more and register for upcoming Distinguished Leaders events.