Who is the CEO of Boots?

20/02/2019 13:00 | Start a business

boots ceo franchise

With around 2,500 stores across the UK, Boots is one of the UK’s leading health and beauty retailers. The store builds upon its core business objective: ‘To be the first choice for pharmacy, health and beauty – caring for people, customers and communities everywhere’. Growing from its initial model as a herbalist in the mid-1800s, Boots has expanded to comprise a number of services including Boots Pharmacy, Boots Opticians, Boots Hearingcare and Boots Photo today. The high street store also stocks a number of exclusive skincare and cosmetics ranges including No7, Soap and Glory and Liz Earle.

The healthcare brand has more than 500 Boots Hearingcare locations and over 600 dedicated Boots Opticians practices. This is a business at the top of its game, employing 56,000 people nationwide, 6,500 of which are qualified pharmacists. A ubiquitous presence in the UK, it is estimated that 90 percent of the population is less than a ten-minute drive away from a Boots outlet. What’s more, 14.4 million people in the UK are active members of Boots’ Advantage Card scheme, benefitting from significant discounts after earning Advantage points.

Let's take a look at the history of the health and beauty business and whether there are any similar opportunities in Point Franchise's franchise directory.

The Boots Story

As a high street store with 170 years of experience, Boots has a fascinating history that takes it back all the way to 1849, when it was first opened. The Boots store of the mid-1800s was not the Boots we know today, however. Boots started life as a stand-alone herbalist shop in Nottingham, opened by John Boot. The shop appealed to locals because it provided an affordable alternative to traditional medicines, helping the poorest section of society gain access to treatment.

It didn’t take long for Boots to build upon its business model, and by the late 1800s, the brand sold stationery alongside its original offering, and many stores also had library facilities. By 1920, Boots had started to offer educational services to its workforce, granting employees between the ages of 14 and 16 half a day every week to study a range of vocational and academic classes at the Boots Day Continuation School. In 1925, the first Boots 24-hour pharmacy was introduced in Piccadilly Circus.

Boots Opticians was launched in 1987, and would go on to become the UK’s second-largest optical retail brand. 1997 saw the introduction of the Boots Advantage Card, which rewarded loyal customers for their purchases with points which they could later use to get discounts on future purchases. In 2000, Boots started to offer their online photo-printing service, Boots Photo.

Today, Boots stands as a hugely successful business that offers a range of exclusive skincare and cosmetic brands; ‘Midnight’ and ‘24-hour’ pharmacies; vaccination and insurance services; Opticians and Hearingcare practices; photo-printing facilities; and even Boots Parenting Club, which helps new parents by providing extra Advantage points as well as free gifts and expert advice.

How Does Boots Give Back?

Although Boots does not continue to supply all the services from which employees and customers have benefitted in the 19th and 20th centuries, it has established many other meaningful partnerships with worthy causes with the objective of enriching the lives of its employees and to help those who need it most. For example, Boots encourages its workforce to cultivate new skills, knowledge and behaviours through its online e-learning courses such as ICan, which aims to boost employees’ product knowledge and ability to assist customers.

As such a successful business with such a long history, Boots recognises its duty to give something back to the community from which it originated. As a result, in 1970, the Boots Charitable Trust was launched, an independent registered UK charity funded by Boots UK that supports organisations across the county of Nottinghamshire. The Boots Charitable Trust has so far donated more than £10 million to worthy causes. Boots is also proud to be affiliated with a variety of established charities such as The Prince’s Trust and Macmillan Cancer Support.

Boots UK CEO

Sebastian James is a relatively new addition to the Boots leadership team, having acted as President and Managing Director of the health and beauty chain since September 2018. Joining Boots, James took over from Elizabeth Fagan, who had led the business since 2016. In addition to managing Boots UK, James is Senior Vice President of Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc., an American holding company that owns Boots, Walgreens and various other healthcare brands. Walgreens Boots Alliance is the largest pharmacy, health and daily living retailer in the US and Europe and, taking into account its equity investments, has a presence in over 25 countries and a workforce of over 415,000 people.

James has an impressive CV and has worked for a number of prestigious businesses in the past. Moving to Boots from Dixons Carphone plc., which operates brands such as Currys PC World and Carphone Warehouse, James has plenty of experience in leading big-name companies. James worked as CEO of Dixons Carphone for six years and has been Independent Non-executive Director of Direct Line Group since 2014. In addition to this, James has been a trustee of charities such as Save the Children. Prior to working for Dixons Carphone, James acted as CEO of Synergy Insurance Services and Silverscreen Holdings, after starting out in management consultation with The Boston Consulting Group and Bain & Company.

Another high flyer in the Boots brand is Stefano Pessina, the Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Walgreens Boots Alliance, which is based in Deerfield, Illinois.

Boots CEO Email

Boots do not officially publish the contact details of their leadership team online, but those who would like to get in touch with Sebastian James should contact him via his Twitter account (@BootsSebJ) or on his LinkedIn profile (https://uk.linkedin.com/in/jamessebastian).

Franchise with Boots

There are currently no opportunities for investors to open their own standard Boots store, but potential franchisees do have the chance to get involved in the brand by partnering with Boots Opticians. A total investment of £160,000 is required to get the store up and running and guidance will be provided by Boots’ franchise support team, who assist new franchisees with site selection, lease negotiation, store design and local marketing campaigns. If this isn’t the right fit, investors could instead consider starting a franchise in the beauty sector. Browse opportunities at Point Franchise here.

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