Nick Abboud, Managing Director and CEO of Dick Smith Electronics, has extensive experience within Australian retail after spending 19 years with Myer. His tenure with the department store chain was during a period of significant change. Nick saw the company open and subsequently divest its interest in Megamart, and he was significantly involved in the lead up and initial public offering of Myer on the ASX. These experiences taught him a great deal about the industry. But his ties to the electronics sector stretch even further back.
"Before Myer, I spent five and a half years in an electronics company called Chandlers," Nick says. "At the time, Chandlers was similar to JB Hi-Fi, so I'd started in electronics and moved into department stores. There was a difference, as it was more specialised and you had to run the stores a lot leaner because the margins arent there to run a heavier type of structure. It was very much a high-service business, so you've got to manage it in a certain way. And theres a lot of relationship building with vendors; all of the vendors are passionate, all based in Australia, and its important that you build good relationships with those vendors."
Nick's appointment to the helm of Dick Smith was a catalyst for change within the company. "I think the biggest challenge has been implementing numerous changes within the business in a short time. We've restructured the supply chain, incentivised the workforce with a performance-based culture, and reorganised the buying principles and relationships with vendors. Every part of the business was modernised and new systems were implemented to ensure it was successful. It wasn't a one-area type of fix; it focused on a number of areas across all aspects of the business. For a $1.2-billion business, to instil a new culture in our 3,500 team members in a 12-month period was probably the most difficult part."