Talent and vision can be nurtured over the long-term, as Jane Shields’ 28-year stint with Next proves. There’s no substitute for knowledge gained at the coalface so the one-time sales assistant knows her customers inside-out. Her abilities were recognised in 2013 with promotion to the board – the first time marketing has had representation since the 1990s. She could have her work cut out, however, with trading in 2016 expected to be like “walking up the down escalator” according to her boss Simon Wolfson.
Maintaining the tight focus on digital distribution, pricing and customer service that keeps Next a champion in a turbulent sector.