the BIG interview

“I truly appreciate how hard people are having to work to remain in business”

This month, in our keynote Big Interview feature, we hear from Will Yates, Managing Director, Groupe SEB UK&I. He talks about his career to date, the business he works for, his path to the top of this sector-leading company, and the importance of supporting retailers in what are, for many, challenging times.


ill’s journey with the company began just over three years ago, as

he explains. “I joined Groupe SEB UK&I at the beginning of 2016 having spent nearly twenty years in FMCG. The opportunity to link my passion for cooking with an amazing business was one not to be missed! So the journey began over three years ago alongside amazing brands that are all market leading and an incredible team of hugely talented individuals.” Will’s enthusiasm for the “amazing business” he joined is evident as he offers a broad brush portrait of the Group’s profile and activities. “Groupe SEB is the world leader in small household equipment with a presence in over 150 countries and 34,000 valued employees. In 2018 it globally generated sales of €6.8bn. The Group’s head office is based in beautiful

Lyon (the gastronomic capital of France) in a purpose-built campus to house all of our global business units. Groupe SEB’s strategy is consistent with our long-standing mission of simplifying and embellishing the everyday lives of consumers and contributing to better living around the world which is achieved through a Multi brand strategy including Tefal, Krups, Rowenta, WMF, Moulinex, All Clad and SUPOR.” So with the structure of the Group to support him, what does his role as Managing Director of the UK and Ireland arm encompass? “My role as the MD at Groupe SEB UK&I covers disciplines including sales, marketing, supply, HR, customer services, finance and our own retail operation. It’s really diverse but that’s what I enjoy, and I know that I am fortunate in the team I have. I am a huge believer that we all need to keep developing, that people are critical in all that we

do, that we need to look after our environment and communities and that we need to continue our strong retailer partnerships in order to maintain a healthy business… and let’s not forget the need to have fun – without that life would be very tough!” Will’s path to the top of Groupe SEB UK&I is built on solid foundations, as he explains. “Prior to Groupe SEB I spent nineteen years in FMCG, predominantly with Cadbury, then Kraft and latterly Mondelēz as the business went through various ownership and structural changes. It was a fantastic experience and amazing grounding to work for that period of time in a blue chip FMCG company. Over this time, I held a variety of roles including Channel Controller, Field Sales Director, Planning Controller Northern Europe – and had the unbelievable opportunity to launch Trident chewing gum into the UK.”

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October/November 2019

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