James joined the business over 20 years ago and has held a number of roles including International Managing Partner, co-head of OC&C’s International Retail Practice and leading the Consumer sector in the London office.
With more than 300 assignments he has been fortunate enough to work with a fascinating variety of clients on diverse and exciting topics.
A common theme that unites his work is an enthusiasm to work from the intellectually stimulating pursuit of robust strategy development through to the practically challenging sharp end of making stuff happen. The beauty of consumer industries is that there is always a very clear arbiter of whether you’ve successfully delivered or not – and you can easily ask them!
Education & Prior Experience
Growing up in a fishing family in Cornwall taught me some important early lessons about the reward from hard work and the importance of capitalising on good times (you never knew when the weather might change ...)
My more formal education took the form of a state school education followed by a Chemistry degree at Oxford University.
Outside of OC&C I maintain an active interest in a number of start up firms which give a great opportunity to learn the practical challenges faced by smaller businesses. Business I am actively involved with include Flatiron Restaurant, Farmison.com, keepmebooked.com and a number of start up software firms.
"Strategy consulting is an ever changing discipline and one where an agile and inquiring mind can be constantly occupied. While the themes that we often explore with our clients are common, the specific challenges are always different and distinct. Our challenge is to balance the intellectual and analytical pursuit of great strategy development with the practical challenges of making real change happen. I feel privileged to be able to advise some of the world’s best business on their gnarliest issues – who wouldn’t?!"
It's the uncertainty not the hardship that's so difficult
It's hard to find the right hyperbole to describe these extraordinary times that we find ourselves in. Today more than a quarter of the world's population are operating under lockdown with this number continuing to escalate rapidly
The perils of short-term reward
The blindingly obvious statement that many established retailers have failed to react decisively enough to structural shifts in the industry risks overlooking a more profound question
Speed only matters if you're headed in the right direction
The retail world has changed from one where a once captive customer now has effective and instantaneous choice: for the average consumer, the number of 'accessible' retailers has expanded from 300 to over 800,000 in the last generation
Craving that physical contact?
The idea of a store that curates a range of interesting and relevant products in an inspiring environment is not a new one
The era of the dynamic menu is upon us
McDonald's $300m acquisition of an Artificial Intelligence company heralds a new era in the way in which food menus will be adjusted and optimised in real time
The juggernaut rolls on...
Fascinating to hear the latest speculation on Amazon's moves into the mainstream Grocery market. The alleged move to open up a chain of mid-sized more affordable grocery stores has sent a number of retail investors running for the hills.
Shopping from friends - the future of retail?
In an era where the recommendations of friends is increasingly critical in where people shop and what people buy, it shouldn't be a great surprise to see the emergence of peer-to-peer retail
Is Airbnb yearning for the dependability of Bricks and Mortar?
There was an intriguing announcement earlier this week that Airbnb was launching a major new initiative to design and build a new generation of millennial ready houses
Interesting to see Costa Coffee's latest innovation aimed at driving a switch to reusable cups