Waitrose Commercial Director Stepping Down

Waitrose Commercial Director Mark Williamson has announced that he plans to retire at the end of January 2017. The chain’s current Marketing Director Rupert Thomas will move into the role with his replacement announced at a later date.

Williamson joined Waitrose in 2004 from Sainsbury’s where he was Trading Director and has been on its Management Board for 10 years. Having served as Waitrose’s Head of Buying and Supply Chain Director, he became Commercial Director in 2010.

He will continue as Chair of the Leckford Estate – the Waitrose Farm – a role he took up earlier this year.

Waitrose Managing Director Rob Collins commented: “Mark has done a fantastic job and achieved great things on the commercial front; he’s been a valued board colleague, bringing wisdom and experience to our work.”

He added: “Rupert, our very successful Marketing Director, also has strong commercial experience. He joined Waitrose in 2003 having spent over ten years in various commercial and marketing roles; his first job with us was heading our Grocery and Fruit buying teams. He is the ideal candidate to pick up the baton from Mark and I wish them both well for the future.”

NAM Implications:
  • Where at: Mark Williamson obviously a loss to the business especially in terms of grocery trade experience
  • Where headed: After what will be one of the most ‘price-warred’ final quarters in 2016, expect Rupert Thomas to focus on making Waitrose accessible in a tricky, price-driven market, while remaining true to its premium values (Read more here)
  • How it affects you: Possible addition of brand and Waitrose shopper congruence to the normal commercial buying criteria
  • Action: Re-assessment of your relative competitive appeal from the point-of-view of the Waitrose shopper, and where possible tweak re the Waitrose offering…