CIH names Guy Kinnell as deputy CEO

Combined Independent Holdings has appointed Guy Kinnell as deputy chief executive.

CIH, which is part of the Euronics buying group, said Kinnell (main picture) will move into the CEO role over the coming year to replace Stuart Cook, who announced his retirement last month. He will work closely with Cook to ensure a smooth transition and minimal disruption to the business.

Cook will be scaling down to three days a week from this month and aims to take full retirement in September next year.

Before stepping into his new role at CIH, Kinnell was vice-president of Samsung’s TV and AV division in the UK and Ireland. He has also worked in regional and global commercial and marketing roles in the music industry and has an MBA from the London Business School.

CIH chairman Steve Scogings commented: “This appointment is a perfect match for CIH and its members. Guy has extensive global, European, and country-level leadership experience, covering sales, product development and marketing roles within a variety of fast-moving consumer-goods categories.

“During his tenure with Samsung, he has been responsible for the delivery of significant commercial, market leadership, category development and brand awareness goals. This has included retail and direct-to-consumer transformation initiatives not only in the UK but also in Europe and North America.

“He’s an impressive and determined character and we’re looking forward to the industry experience, the business know-how and the relationship-building skills that he can bring to CIH as we grow and move forward into the future.”

Kinnell said of his appointment: “I’m honoured to be in a position to support the future growth and transformation of such a diverse and quality membership. With quality leadership emanating from the board, kind ongoing support and insight from Stuart and strong recent trading performances, we have so much to be proud of, and to be inspired by, within the CIH family.

“We want to accomplish more together and I look forward to bringing our goals to fruition in collaboration with our amazing members, the dynamic CIH team, and the Euronics community. To our inspiring brands and partners, I invite you to continue working with us to help take our unique retail experience to even greater heights for our UK technology consumers. Let’s build an even more positive future together, lead in shaping how we tell our story to our customers, and support our communities in good times and in times of challenge.”

Retiring CIH CEO Stuart Cook

Cook has spent 25 years with CIH. He said that he felt the time was approaching when he would like to spend more time with his family, travel the world and enjoy the fruits of his labour.

Scogings said of his tenure in the post: “Stuart’s contribution to CIH over two-and-a-half decades cannot be understated. During his tenure, he has orchestrated three SAP implementations that have transformed the business, established the Euronics Agency Agreement and founded Blomberg, nurturing it into the significant UK white goods brand that it is today.

“Stuart can take credit for two new warehouse operations and upscaling member deliveries from once, to twice and now three times a week. He created well in advance of the internet shopping revolution, launched the online 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.”

Cook was also instrumental in successfully navigating CIH through the start of the Covid-19 pandemic and supporting members throughout lockdown, with CIH subsequently reporting record summer trading this year.

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