2015 Speakers


Gail Anscomb
Director of International, The White Company

In 2014, Gail joined The White Company as its first ever Director of International. Gail is responsible for developing and building new relationships with worldwide partners in both existing and new markets.

Prior to this role Gail had spent 14 years working internationally, initially with Oasis and then as Director of International at Coast. Her role at Coast covered over 20 territories with a variety of business models from Franchising, Consignment, Wholesale to Owned concessions and stores.

As an experienced retail professional, Gail started her retail career in the young womenís fashion brand Miss Selfridge gaining operational experience in the UK market. She then gained more broad retail experience with roles across Buying, Project management, Brand Management and Marketing with a variety of brands.

Gail believes in building good working relations with worldwide partners and achieves results by adapting business models to specific needs of the markets. Partner and market evaluation is key for success and Gail sets consistent high standards by ensuring the transfer of brand and commercial skills with an open and honest approach. Gail is passionate about ensuring brand integrity is maintained whilst aiming for commercial success for all parties.


Richard Aquilina
Head of International Franchising, Blue Inc./Officers Club

Before embarking on an international career, Richard held various operational roles with retail poster chain Athena Galleries, eventually reaching the position of Franchise Director, and prior to this a career within W H Smith spanning some 15 years.

Richardís international career began with iconic brand Sock Shop, almost 30 years ago where he responsible for global expansion, establishing networks in Europe, Middle East and Asia. In 2001 Richard joined La Senza, working with UK retail expert Theo Paphitis. Challenged with setting up the European franchise programme for the brand, Richard was instrumental in its development in 13 countries as well as holding domestic responsibility for airports and network rail.

In 2010, Richard set up his own consultancy business, advising chains on international strategy, working with both small companies and large enterprises, such as the prestigious group Arcadia. He also returned to work with Theo Paphitis, setting up the international franchise programme for Theoís new lingerie chain Boux Avenue.

Today Richard is working with UK menswear brand Blue Inc. overseeing international development of their franchise programme. He has already finalised plans to launch in the Middle East in 2014 and progressing interest in North Africa, Russia, Central America and the Caribbean.


Helen Barnish
Head of International Development, Hamleys of London

Head of International Development at Hamleys of London, Helen joined Hamleys in 2011 to expand their international format with key strategic partners. Helen has specialized in Retail Franchising and Development for the past 25 years working with brands including Clarks Shoes, The Body Shop and Nokia.

Helen started as a Graduate Executive Trainee with House of Fraser, before moving to Clarks Shoes.
Helen then worked for The Body Shop for 16 years seeing the business grow from 50 stores to over 2500 globally.
Helen worked in roles in retail operations, franchising, support office and store development.

Latterly, Helen spent three years with Nokia Retail as Global Partner Manager responsible for creating the Partner Selection Process and recruitment of Partners in Europe, Russia, Turkey, Middle East, India, South East Asia, China and South America.

With Hamleys Helen is responsible for international business development working with existing partners to achieve their development plans, and market entry into new international countries. Hamleys is currently trading in 9 markets in Europe, Russia, Middle East and India.   In the last year Hamleys has contracted Franchise Partners for a further 9 markets with the next focus moving to South East Asia and Eastern Asia.


Louis de Bourgoing
International Director, WH Smith

Louis de Bourgoing is International Director at WH Smith, the leading worldwide news, books and convenience retailer. Listed in the London Stock Exchange, WH Smith has over 1200 stores in 20 countries operating in airports, stations, hospitals, malls and high street locations. WH Smith is active in more than 50 airports including London, Dublin, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Abu Dhabi, Doha, Mumbai, Delhi, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, Bali, Sydney and Melbourne.
Before joining WH Smith in 2010, Louis  was COO of LagardËre Services for 20 years overseeing in particular their Asian, Pacific and North American operations as well as Virgin Megastore.
Louis is a French national and holds an MBA from Insead Paris and a Masters in Engineering from Paris Ecole Polytechnique


Alex Coombe
Former Head of Franchise, French Connection plc

Formerly Head of Franchise at French Connection Plc Alex has over 19 years retail experience with the last 10 focused on international markets. Having gained knowledge across all retail functions he has a strong understanding of both Wholesale and High Street models along with the various formats such as JV, Affiliate and Master/Individual Franchise.

At French Connection Alex was responsible for new business development and existing partners reporting into the COO. Since joining the company in 2008 he has been active in launching the Brand across numerous new markets worldwide. Prior to French Connection Alex developed the direct entry strategy for a chain of value fashion stores in Central Europe for Grabal Alok the UK based retail business owned by Alok Industries after starting his career at the Peacock Group where he was a key member of a small team that developed their successful international business


Filipe Correia
Head of Expansion, Parfois

Filipe Correia started his work in Parfois as Head of Expansion in the beginning of 2009 and he has been a key responsible for the brandís international growing presence, which now consists of more than 550 stores in 50 countries. The brand has grown at an average of 29% year on year in the last 5 years.

Previously, he was involved in the expansion of a Portuguese brand of jeans, with direct and franchise operations worldwide.

He started his international path in the textile industry, which included a two yearsí experience in Japan where he first contacted the retail industry.


Jonathan Cullen
European Franchise Director, Second Cup

Experienced Senior Executive accustomed to operating at board level in large national/international companies involved in franchising, retailing, industrial services, sales and logistics. Extensively experienced in start up, business turnaround and culture change management, Marketing strategy, B2B relationships, Experienced in contract negotiations, sales and operations management and is a natural relationship manager empathetic with good multi level communication skills and an ability to effectively complete strategy and implement agreed objectives.

I have spent much of the last 10 years working with International Brands coming into the UK market and working with brands to find Master Franchiseeís and Area Development Franchisees for Europe, Asia Pacific, Middle East and the USAÖ Much of this time has been spent in the Restaurant/Fast Food and Retail Companies such as Honey Snap CafÈ, Wai Thi Restaurants/casual Dinning, Sugacane, Shakeaway, La Bottage Del Caffe (Restaurants), Spice2go and Ritaís Ice, Munchies Frozen Yogurt, Buffalo Wild Wings (restaurants), Yo Yo Noodles, Second Cup, Costa, Joeís Crab Shacks, Earl Of Sandwich, Planet Hollywood, C House CafÈ, Camilleís Ice Bars and Doner Kebab (Casual Dinning. I have developed a database and personal relationships with many Multi Franchise owners and High Net worth Individuals and companies. My roles have included; Find, select and negotiate Master/Area Development Deals, Work with Franchisors to agree Country by Country specifics; Locations, Design, shop fit, Marketing strategy, Franchise process and implementation and Develop infrastructure to support networks of outlets.


Andrey Gorb
Head of Regional Development, Centrepoint LLC ñ Russia

Andrey Gorb has more than 10 years experience in the field of fashion retail and marketing. He specializes in business development and expansion of distribution chain.

He started his career in 2004 as a Purchasing Manager for Podium LLC in Khabarovsk (Sisley and Benetton group distributor).

In 2006 Andrey joined Centrepoint LLC in Moscow as a Regional Development Department Manager and later in 2007 was promoted to Department Head position. Centrepoint LLC is an exclusive Russian franchisee of such brands as Karen Millen, Oasis London, Van Laack, Coast, Warehouse. Andrey took the leading role in establishing and development of Karen Millen, Oasis and Van Laack franchise network in Russia which nowadays consists of more than 50 stores represented in 15 Russian cities.

As an independent consultant Andrey took part in several consulting projects conducted in 2013 by the largest Russian fashion consulting organization ñ Fashion Consulting Group. Andrey took part in consulting projects including the following: marketing research and audit of one of the largest Russian retail company (more than 650 stores) as a part of due diligence made by international investment company; developing the positioning strategy for Russian childrenís footwear brand; developing the market strategy for international aviation garment brand and others.

Andrey Gorb holds the diploma of leading Russian University Higher School of Economics and Fashion Marketing Certificate from Marangoni Institute in London. Currently he delivers lectures and is an author of several workshops as part of the Fashion Marketing Course in National Research University Higher School of Economics and in School of Interactive Communications in Advertising (IKRA).


Irina Gorban
Managing Director, TSUM Yoshkar-Ola ñ Russia
General Manager, Smart Business Fashion Group (SBFG)

Irina Gorban has more than 18 years experience in the apparel and footwear and has extensive experience in different directions ñ planning strategies for brand development, retail , purchasing, marketing, etc.

Jobs in the European and Russian companies gave a unique experience and understanding of business in different price niches clothing and shoes. She began her career in 1998 in the position of goods manager in a small Russian company ìLitosî that developed multi-brand formats clothes and shoes in Moscow.

Later in 2003, continued her career at the company Auchan as Head of the department of ìTextiles and products for childrenî, which gained invaluable experience in personnel management, merchandise management and financial results. Since 2010, went to work in the company BNS Group, in the position of Brand Director of Mexx, where developed areas of retail, wholesale and regional franchise. Also opened a new direction ñ e-shop Mexx.

Despite the love for the fashion market, in 2012 decided to change direction and accepted the offer of the company Ideas4Retail, which develops brand Hamleys in Russia ñ the legendary British toy store, and started to work in the position of Managing Director. Responsibilities included management of brand development, retail, marketing, personnel, formation of assortment and pricing policy.

In 2014 accepted the offer to head the Central Department Store in Yoshkar-Ola, where the concept was created and developed a business structure in the format department store. In the Central Department Store presented well-known European and Russian brands ñ Mango, Motivi, Oasis, Benetton, Levis and other (more than 20 brands).

Also at the moment Irina is the founder and CEO of Smart Business Fashion Group (SBFG), which specializes in consulting and project management in the field of fashion business. Irina graduated from the North ñ Caucasus Academy of Public Schools under the President of the Russian Federation on a specialty ìState and municipal managementî.


Lucy Haine
International Territory Controller for Asia, Debenhams

Lucy Haine is Business Partner Controller at Debenhams with a worldwide remit. Her job involves extensive International travel supporting franchisees across 25 countries. Lucy previously served as a Senior Business Manager at Debenhams focussing on setting up partners in emerging markets including Iran, Pakistan and Russia.

Lucy joined Debenhams in 1993 as a menswear merchandiser before moving to the International team. She spent six months living in Cyprus setting up the retailerís business there, which now boasts ten stores. Prior to working at Debenhams, Lucy began her career in retail with River Island, and subsequently held roles at M&S, Monsoon Accessorize and  Allders.

Lucy lives in Soho, London with her husband and their ginger cat Hector.

Lucy is responsible for 6 regions in Asia, the biggest growth areas of, Iran, Pakistan, India, Indonesia, Malaysia and Philippines.


Andrew Hardy
International Real Estate Consultant, IRG

Andrew Hardy is a qualified Chartered Surveyor with extensive commercial property experience in Europe, Middle & Far East gained at partner level with major international real estate organisations over 30 years. Andrew advises International Corporations on pan European real estate needs acquiring retail and office investments as well as factory outlet sites across Europe.


Jonathan Knight
CEO, Al Khayyat Investments (AKI) Retail Division

Jonathan Knight has been the Chief Executive Officer of the Retail Division of Al Khayyat Investments (AKI) since August 2012. A British national, Jonathan has worked and lived in the Middle East & Africa (MENA) region for the last seven years, a period that has given him a deep understanding of the demographics and behavior of the discerning Arab customer. With over a decade of senior executive experience in the global retail and wholesale sectors, he is leading the implementation of the Groupís strategic vision across Fashion & Lifestyle, Health & Beauty and Food & Beverage.

His responsibilities include the management of the AKI New Business Development strategy focused on bringing new Joint Ventures and Franchise Brands to the region like the first Fortnum & Mason to open outside of the UK in Downtown Dubai facing Burj Khalifa.

Al Khayyat Investments is a family-owned company based in UAE; AKI Retail is the retail arm of AKI operating leading brands in Fashion & Lifestyle, Health & Beauty and Food & Beverage as well as owning and operating the BinSina chain of pharmacies across the UAE. AKI operates through a diversified group operation across various industries with five fully autonomous business units, each led by specialists in their respective fields ñ Retail, Healthcare, Consumer, Contracting (Italdeco, Gulf Landscape & Irrigation Systems, Fitness & Bowling and Environmental Services) and Strategic Investments. AKI continues to offer partners business solutions to match their aims, focusing on achieving and maintaining leadership market positions.


Mark Knowlden
Head of Business Development ñ F&F Global Partnerships, Tesco

Mark heads the Global Partnerships Business Development Team for F&F, the clothing brand owned by Tesco.  Having studied law to post-graduate level, Mark has 18 yearsí experience in the affordable fashion sector with Peacocks and F&F covering both Store Operations and Business Development roles.  Mark has specialised in international retail for the past 10 years, both with brand operated stores and franchise partnerships.  F&F has a turnover in excess of £2.5bn, trading in 10 ìTescoî countries and around 20 with partners in markets as diverse as the USA, UK, Switzerland, Saudi Arabia and the Philippines


Bijou Kurien
Member of the Strategic Advisory Board, L Capital

Bijou has been associated with marquee brands in the fast moving consumer products, consumer durables and retail industry in India for over 32 years.  His association with the development of Indian retail is over 25 years.  After earning his spurs at Hindustan Unilever Ltd., he joined the founding team at Titan Industries, where he helped build powerful brands in the Watch and Jewellery Industry like Titan, Fastrack, Sonata, Tanishq etc and also create Indiaís largest exclusive brand retail chains.  In his stint with Reliance Retail, he was at the forefront of one of the most ambitious retail ventures ever which dramatically transformed the Indian retail landscape. Currently, he is an independent consultant and member of the Strategic Advisory Board of L Capital, Asia (a part of the LVMH Group), and also advises several consumer product companies and mentors a few start-ups.

Bijou has been associated with the India Retail Forum & Retailers Association of India and has significantly contributed to its development.  In addition, he is also a member of the World Retail Congress since its inception, as a member of its Advisory board as well as the Grand Jury for selection of the World Retail award winners.

In addition to retail industry fora, he is the Chairman of the FICCI National Retail Committee, member of the Advisory Council of the RAI, High Level Committee of the GoI for Internal Trade, member of the National Retail committee of CII, and Governing boards of various academic institutions. He has also received several acknowledgements including Retail CEO of the Year (2013) by ET Now, Asia Pacific Retail Leader of the Year (2012) by the World Retail Congress etc.


Martin Lustenberger
GM Licensed Markets, Shell

Currently General Manager Licensed Markets, Martin has been with Shell for over 17 years, holding various different roles over that time, mostly within the Commercial and Retail businesses. He has gained in-depth experience of the global business from roles in Strategy, Sales, Marketing and Business Development, covering various geographies including postings in Europe, Asia and North America. In his current role, Martin is responsible for the markets where the Shell Retail business is operated under a License Agreement, which covers a large part of the global portfolio across all regions.

Martin is a Swiss National, married and the proud father of three kids. Outside of work he enjoys outdoor activities in the Swiss Alps with the family.


Babette Marzheuser-Wood
Partner, Head of Retail Group, Dentons

Babette heads up the Retail Group at Dentons. She specialises in global franchise, distribution and concession agreements and IP-driven joint ventures.

She has substantial experience advising retailers on international expansion strategies including multi-channel strategies, franchising and licensing, wholesale distribution and e-commerce.

She specialises in international franchise, licensing and concession agreements and IP-driven joint ventures.
Babette has transactional experience in over 100 countries. Recent deals include work in all major emerging markets (Russia, India, China, Brazil and South Africa) as well as in the Middle East and Africa. She also advises clients on innovative structures for international expansion in the global marketplace.

Babette has particular expertise in the retail, hotel, leisure and restaurant sectors. She is dual qualified in Germany and the UK.


Joao Portela
International Development Director, Sonae

Joao has been responsible for the international business development efforts of Sonae Specialty Retail brands Zippy (children fashion and nursery), MO (fashion), Sport Zone (sports) and Worten (electronics) since 2013.

With over 130 stores in 19 different countries, Zippy is Sonae SRís most international brand, while MO and Sport Zone have started their international franchising expansion in 2013 and 2014 respectively.

Before joining Sonae in 2004, Jo„o worked at US-based mall developer The Mills Corporation between 1998 and 2001, and at UK-based real estate developer Heron between 2001 and 2002.

Joao got his undergraduate degree in Business Management from the Portuguese Catholic University in 1998, and his MBA degree from ESADE business school in Barcelona in 2004.


Amanda Radley,
International Sales Director, Microlights

Amanda joined Microlights in 2005 with a remit to build relationships with major International Retail brands and develop processes and networks able to support growth of these brands in overseas territories.

As International Sales Director, Amanda has overseen business development with many well known brands into over 70 countries worldwide and created partnerships in key strategic  territories traditionally more difficult for export.

With over 25 years operating in International environments in the electrical sector, 15 of them in retail lighting, Amanda combines technical and commercial acuity in her approach to retailersí needs. Her team approach and desire to tailor support requirements to individual retailersí needs is a key factor in developing long term business relationships. 

Microlights is a specialist designer and producer of lighting solutions for Retail stores.  The manufacturing facilities in the UK ensure great flexibility and the responsive lead times needed in the dynamic and fast paced retail environment.


Sohail Shaikh
Director of International Development, Mothercare

Sohail joined Mothercare in 1995 as a Merchandise Assistant after graduating from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne. During his Mothercare career Sohail has worked in a number of functions within the International team building up extensive knowledge of the Mothercare International business and International retailing in general.

Sohail was promoted to his current role as Director of International Development in 2012 ñ a role in which he leads the growth of the International business in Existing and New markets ñ this includes market assessment, partner selection, brand positioning and a Retail Sales budget in excess of £750m across 59 countries.

Sohail and his wife have two young sons (5 and 7) who enjoy being Mothercare customers.


Sonja Slottke
Business Development Executive, Deutsche Post DHL

Direct Marketing is the central theme in Sonjaís business life. Even her first job taken during her studies of Technical Economics was with ìBurdaî, in one of Germanyís famous publishing houses. where she wrote her diploma thesis. After graduating she started her career at Callwey-Verlag. This Munich based publishing house focused on special interest B2B magazines for crafts like painters, stone carvers and metalworkers. She has also had prominent roles at ìEurodirect Routage S.A.î in Geispolsheim-Gare (France) today part of the Arvato-Group) and ìMeiller GmbHî (today renamed to MeillerGHP) ñ both lettershops and printing houses providing a wide range of postal services.

After these first contacts with the process oriented view on direct marketing she worked for the domestic sales organisation of Deutsche Post in several positions as a Key-Account-Manager. Almost 10 years later she switched to the other side of the desk, being in charge of the direct marketing activities for one of Germanys leading energy suppliers.

Sonja then went on to join the international sales organisation of Deutsche Post DHL Global Mail, specialising in direct marketing. In her current role she supports the entire European Sales team on all topics of the Postal and the Direct Marketing world, including expert opinion on the creation of mailings and catalogues in todayís highly competitive retail market.

She shares her knowledge and her expertise as a regular lecturer in seminars, workshops and presentations for the ìProf. VˆgeleÆ-Dialogmethodeî of the Siegfried Vˆgele Institut in Kˆnigstein.


Geoffrey Smith
Head of Market Entry & In-Country Support, Veredor

After studying law at Downing College, Cambridge, Geoffrey qualified as a solicitor and practised in the City until 1984, when he switched to Russian studies at London University. He graduated in 1988 and has since worked in several countries, focusing on Russia, Eastern Europe and the Middle East, with clients including De Beers, Russian Gold, Savola Group, Abdul Lateef Jameel, Brandinstinct and the Russian Union of Industrialists & Entrepreneurs. Geoffrey is an expert in international strategic planning, ensuring your overseas business relationships/partnerships are the right ones and result in increased growth at minimal risk.



Neil Wynn-Jones MBE
Luxury and Retail sector specialist adviser to the Consumer Trade Group at UK Trade and Investment

Neil Wynn-Jones is the Luxury and Retail sector specialist adviser to the Consumer Trade Group at UK Trade and Investment.

Originally from the textile and clothing trades, and latterly the food and beverage industries, Neil has a private sector background with 30 years international sales and senior management in the Latin American, US, Far Eastern and European markets.

Working with both Multinationals and MSBís both directly and as a senior management consultant, Neil has broad experience of the issues Retailers and Brands can expect in setting up or expanding their business overseas.


Sarah Pavlou
Founder and Managing Director, kyclO

Sarah is Founder and Managing Director of Kyclo, a Retail Franchise and Brand Expansion Solutions company based in the UK.

Sarah has over 20 yearsí experience in retail, including 10 years in International Franchising, working with some of the greatest retail brands in both the UK and internationally. Whilst supporting these companies in their internal and external developments, Sarah inspires a true passion for brand values and achieving profitable growth; driven by exceptional customer experience and increased brand loyalty. With a never-failing eye for detail, outstanding leadership skills and a full understanding of the bottom line, Sarah has delivered unfailingly successful results that are consistent, commercial and demonstrate the key to success lies in optimising the power of the brand and its people.

Sarah is also a Founding Board Member, Chairperson of the Executive Committee, and Chief Executive Officer of IWIB, International Women in Business, a Non-Profit Organisation which she founded in 2012 and now has more than 1500 members from across the globe.

Sarah is married to her husband from Cyprus for 10 years and has two toddler boys.