As the Rank Group posts disappointing financials for the past twelve months, its new helmsman John O’Reilly lays out how he plans to right the ship for the years ahead.
You have now been in the business for four months, what have been your first impressions?
JO: Since joining I have been made to feel very welcome and I have met a lot of committed and hardworking colleagues who are focused on making this business more successful.
Over the last four months I have visited many of our venues,our digital operations in Gibraltar, the Enracha business in Spain, the customer solutions hub in Sheffield, and spent a great deal of time with all our leadership teams. Based on what I have seen and experienced, we need to be better across four key areas by increasing our focus on the customer, growing our digital business, driving cost efficiencies and improving our organisational capabilities.
Do you see a need to change Rank’s strategy?
JO: Rank’s strategy as defined by the five pillars is right for our business and I agree with the Group’s ambition.That said,with the backdrop of a disappointing performance in 2017/18, we must move quickly to realise the significant underlying potential which I have now seen first-hand since joining the Group in early May.
How will you ensure Rank realise this underlying potential?
JO: As highlighted earlier,we need to improve the organisational capabilities to deliver our strategy and we will do this through the establishment of a transformation programme. We have to become more efficient but we also need to grow revenue so the transformation programme will be a mix of cost savings and revenue generation initiatives. It is a rigorous process involving multiple approvals for initiatives with overall review by the Rank executive team. Ideas to grow revenues and/or reduce costs are identified, validated, planned, prioritised, executed and realised with tight management and measurement at every phase. The start point is in determining the workstreams, responsibilities and initiatives and validating the P&L benefits and timetable for delivery. This programme of work has just begun and will run over the next three months. The transformation programme will then follow a strict weekly cadence, enforced by a transformation office which will support the programme and make sure the initiatives stay on track. The programme will be a challenge to all of us at Rank and as yet we don’t know what the initiatives will be but our employees are best placed to determine what we should be doing to grow revenues or where we can save money. It may be in scheduling, multi-skilling,new products,procurement, central systems,digital customer acquisition, customer bonus controls, promotional effectiveness, improvements in customer due diligence processes, or estate management.
The programme will be centrally run to ensure it is co-ordinated,properly measured and it changes the way we operate going forwards by enhancing the performance culture of this business, creating opportunities for personal growth and enabling ambition to be rewarded. The transformation programme has only just kicked off. All senior employees will be involved as it progresses and it will shape what we do and, just as importantly, what we don’t do over the year ahead.