Stuart Cook steps down as CEO of CIH

After 16 years in the role, Stuart Cook retired on April 1 from his position as chief executive of Combined Independent (Holdings) Ltd (CIH).

CIH is part of the Euronics buying group, which claims to be Europe’s largest buying group. Taking Cook’s place as CEO is Guy Kinnell, who was previously deputy chief executive.

CIH chairman Steve Scogings commented on Cook’s achievements: “In his two-and-a-half decades with CIH, Stuart has contributed hugely to our success.  He launched the Euronics brand in the UK in the year 2000. He has orchestrated three SAP implementations that have transformed the business, established the Euronics Agency Agreement and secured Blomberg as a Euronics exclusive, nurturing it into the successful, multimillion-pound white-goods business that it is today.”

Cook joined CIH in May 1997 as a brown goods buyer and was promoted two years later to head of purchasing. He became acting CEO in September 2004 and CEO in April 2005.

He has also supported members during the coronavirus pandemic, helping them to continue to serve their customers and carry on their businesses safely and productively. As a result, the buying group reported a surge in sales in 2020, which it says is continuing on 2021. “The independent electrical retailer is very much alive and kicking,” said a CIH statement.

Scogings continued: “He can also take credit for two new warehouse operations and extending member deliveries from once to three times a week. Stuart 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. Stuart has also improved the visibility of Euronics through more corporate sponsorship of national sports events as well as signing Nick Knowles, a trusted and respected advocate of local communities, as the high-profile face of Euronics in its TV and promotional campaigns.”

Steve Scogings
Steve Scogings, chairman, CIH

Scogings concluded: “CIH is in a great place, and much of that is because of the vision, hard work and commitment that Stuart has shown to the business. Having established CIH as the major buying group in the sector, Stuart has built a tremendous platform from which Guy Kinnell, our new CEO, can successfully build the brand, supplier business and member benefits into the future. Since Guy joined as deputy CEO in September, he and Stuart have worked closely together to ensure an orderly and seamless transition, and now is the right time for the formal changeover to take place. On behalf of everyone at CIH, I wish Stuart a long and very happy retirement.”

Cook said that he will now spend more time with his family, travel the world and enjoy the fruits of his labour, but he will also continue to provide CIH with advice as a home-based, part-time strategic adviser to the executive directors.

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