Combined Independents (Holdings) Ltd (CIH), part of Euronics, Europe’s largest electrical buying organisation, announced last week that long-standing CEO Stuart Cook has now retired from the position, with Guy Kinnell stepping up from Deputy CEO to take over his responsibilities in a smooth transition for the business.
Stuart started working for the company on the 19th May 1997 as a brown goods buyer. He was promoted in March 1999 to Head of Purchasing and was asked to take on the role of acting CEO in September 2004. The Board approved Stuart as the CEO in April 2005 which will mean he has served exactly 16 years in the role.
Commenting on the announcement, CIH Chairman, Steve Scogings, said, “In his two and half decades with CIH, Stuart has contributed hugely to our success. He launched the Euronics Brand in the UK in the year 2000. He has orchestrated three SAP implementations that have transformed the business, established the Euronics Agency Agreement and secured Blomberg as an Euronics exclusive, nurturing it into the successful, multi-million pounds white goods business that it is today.”
“He can also take credit for two new warehouse operations and extending member deliveries from once, to twice and now three times a week. Stuart created Euronics.co.uk well in advance of the internet shopping revolution, launched the on-line ordering system and opened our first trade show at the NEC in 2006. He negotiated the Family Fund and Family Fund Business Services contracts, relaunched the Conference and partnered CIH with Retracare to supply warranties on consumer electronics. Stuart has also improved the visibility of Euronics through more corporate sponsorship of national sports events as well as signing Nick Knowles, a trusted and respected advocate of local communities, as the high-profile face of Euronics in its TV and promotional campaigns,” added Steve.
Stuart has also supported members through the pandemic, helping them continue to serve their customers and conduct business efficiently, safely and productively. As a result, CIH has reported a surge in trading during 2020, which is continuing into 2021, demonstrating that the message of buying locally from your independent electrical retailer is very much alive and kicking.
“CIH is in a great place, and much of that is because of the vision, hard work and commitment that Stuart has shown to the business,” continued Scogings. “Having established CIH as the major buying group in the sector Stuart has built a tremendous platform from which Guy Kinnell, our new CEO, can successfully build the brand, supplier business and member benefits into the future. Since Guy joined as Deputy CEO in September, he and Stuart have worked closely together to ensure an orderly and seamless transition, and now is the right time for the formal changeover to take place. On behalf of everyone at CIH, I wish Stuart a long and very happy retirement.”
In his retirement, Stuart will spend more time with his family, travel the world and enjoy the fruits of his labour but will still be available as a valuable source of wisdom and advice on key projects as a home-based, part-time Strategic Advisor to the Executive Directors.