Lead Judging Partner
John Heagney Consulting
John Heagney Consulting are proud to have been again selected as the lead judging partner. We continue to strengthen and refine the selection process for the Independent Retailer of the Year, developing the format with a robust multi-stage assessment process ensuring that the very best retailers are the winners.
The ultimate judging session is undertaken by a panel of leading independent retailers, symbol group heads and sector analysts, guided by the retail experts who carried out unannounced store visits. This methodology is industry-leading and will again categorically select the “very best of the best” retailers and stores in the UK.
The retail experts are led by John Heagney, an industry stalwart with an immense knowledge of the sector along with retail experts Michael O’Loughlin, Martin Williams and Craig Smith. Each of these experts has a great depth of knowledge and passion for the sector and a real desire to see excellence in convenience food retailing, all have exceptional industry track records.
On joining Petrogas in 1997 Michael O’Loughlin rose through the ranks from Licensee, Operations director at the newly founded Applegreen and appointed to the main board in 2006.
In 2008 Michael and his family relocated to the UK to found what is now the fifth largest independent forecourt operator in the UK. As Managing Director, O’Loughlin grew the UK group to 75 sites.
During his time in the UK, Michael has become a popular and well-respected industry leader. He is an acclaimed public speaker and would regularly be requested to present at industry events at home and abroad. Since 2010, Michael has held a board position with the Association of Convenience Stores.
Martin has worked in the grocery trade for over 40 years since leaving secondary school. He recently left Landmark Wholesale having been a Director for 19 years of which 14 of them were as Managing Director.
He has recently completed 3 years as Chairman of the Federation of Wholesale Distributors, which represents £30 Billion of turnover from UK Wholesalers.
Martin also spearheaded the development of the award winning Lifestyle Express Symbol Group for Landmark, and believes passionately in helping retailers run better stores.
Craig has spent 30 years as a Supplier in Beverages, with 25 years at Coca-Cola Enterprises, the final 15 years at Director level. He has a wealth of National Account Sales experience across all channels; headed Trade Marketing, led 270 people as a Regional Director and spent two years as Strategic Planning Director, before joining the GB Board as VP Marketing from 2008 - 2013. Latterly he has established Swale Edge Ltd, undertaking senior consultancy assignments within the manufacturing sector.
Craig has always focused on customers and their outlets, has never lost track of the importance of the sharp end of retailing and throughout his career has spent an enormous amount of time at store level, with a keen eye for detail. He has a unique understanding of retail and sees it from a different FMCG perspective. It is this that makes him ideal to be part of the retail experts panel.
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