by Nadia Cameron

Super Retail Group CIO resigns

Aug 06, 20143 mins

Super Retail Group CIO, Alan Hesketh, has resigned from his post after four-and-a-half years at the helm of the retailer’s technology team.

Speaking to CIO, the general manager of information systems said his decision came after a period of significant change for the retail group, which has tripled in size in terms of revenue since Hesketh joined in 2010.

In the last four years, the group had grown from 35 IT staff and $900 million in turnover, to 70 IT staff and just over $2 billion turnover in its last financial year.

How Super Retail Group is dealing with digital disruption

Hesketh said Super Retail Group’s transition from a 24-hour core systems and website update schedule to a near real-time, true multi-channel operation was a key milestone achieved during his tenure.

“We had implemented a significant change in the way the business operated, going from a 24-hour cycle where stores and websites were updated overnight each day, to where the business is operating as a near real-time, true multi-channel business. It felt like that was the end of the chapter for me,” he said.

“I’ve been through four-and-a-half-years of change and it felt like the right time to look at different opportunities. We have delivered the things we planned and targeted and the group is well positioned for the next strategies. It’s a good time for me and the group to leave.”

Hesketh officially finished up last week and said he will take a break before looking for a new role, either as a CIO or in another strategic business position.

“I wanted to think about options outside of that role – there is so much change going on across all industries thanks to the way cloud, mobile and big data are changing how information systems are being used. It’s an interesting time to operate across multiple companies, not just one,” he commented.

“I really enjoy making change happen and looking to leave the places I have worked in better shape than when I joined through information technology.”

With all industries experiencing rapid digital disruption, Hesketh added change and process management, rather than technology implementation, was arguably the more critical factor in achieving digital success.

Super Retail Group will not be looking for a direct CIO replacement, and is reviewing the structure of the business before making an announcement about the future of the IT leader’s role, Hesketh said.

In a statement to its suppliers, the company confirmed Hesketh’s former two direct reports, Angela Ryan, solutions and architecture manager; and Wendie Lee, IT services manager, will take on joint responsibility for leading the Information Services team over the next six months and report directly to the group managing director.

Ryan will cover solutions, architecture and applications development, while Lee assumes responsibility for services and infrastructure.

“Alan has been instrumental in leading the implementation of many of the information technology systems that have become the backbone of our day to day operations,” group managing director, Peter Birtles, said in the statement, adding that it was “with regret” that he’d had to announce Hesketh’s departure.