Matthew Keighran can now add the prestigious Retail Executive of the Year honour to his lengthy list of achievements. This accomplished retail leader has made significant strides in his 16 years at Hugo Boss – the German powerhouse brand known for its timeless tailoring and bold prints and colours.

As Managing Director for the South–East Asia Pacific, Far East Asia and Oceania regions, Matthew has five regional offices reporting to him and is responsible for driving strong growth out of Asia–Pacific. “It’s one of the company’s key strategies on a global level, and I am excited to be placed in such a dynamic market,” he shares.

With such a complex region to manage in terms of distance, culture, climate and wealth distribution, Matthew must be constantly switched on. For him, it’s part of the excitement. “It requires the ability to flick quickly into different mindsets while always maintaining the customer as central to decision-making,” he says.

“We have grown the business strongly both top and bottom line by having clear communication,” Matthew continues.

Matthew Keighran

“Turning Korea around, growing the SEA markets through better partnerships and increasing brand awareness in Japan from 25% to 50% have been key accomplishments.”

Keeping with the growth theme, Matthew and his team have relied heavily on the use of technology to stay relevant in the fast-paced, constantly evolving digital space. This way, Hugo Boss can effectively target its quality-loving customers while refreshing brand awareness to a new generation.

“We market to a broader audience through a combination of media, CRM, PR, events and partnerships,” he explains. “In the past 12 months, our media spend has moved more from traditional to digital, including emerging formats such as location-based targeting, which is measurable and keeps Hugo Boss at the forefront of technology-based marketing.”

However, success rarely happens without struggle. In the last year, Hugo Boss customers were frustrated they couldn’t shop online or research local product offerings and pricing.

“To address this, we worked with business partners in each country and implemented ecommerce in a shop-in-shop model within Japan and Korea and in Australia with David Jones,” Matthew shares. “Each store offers an extensive product range and allows us to meet customer expectations for online shopping while our own ecomm stores are still in development.”

Currently splitting his time between Tokyo and his hometown Melbourne, Matthew makes sure to make time for ‘water cooler’ conversations to maintain a healthy culture in the workplace. “It allows me to perform a pulse check on the culture,” he says. “The right workplace culture is essential for success. Having a high-performing senior leadership team who is aligned with the vision, values and direction of the organisation is also vital – leaders are only as good as their teams.”

View the full list of winners in the 2019 Executive of the Year Awards.