Senior executives from Asda, Superdrug, Frasers, John Lewis, Sainsbury’s and Marks & Spencer are among the 30 names tipped to lead the country’s biggest retailers in years to come, according to Retail Week’s annual index

Future Leaders is back for a second year, celebrating 30 inspiring individuals – spanning customer, operations, brand, marketing, people, finance and sales functions – forecast to become retail CEOs in the years ahead. 

Decided by Retail Week’s team based on their market knowledge and industry recommendations, the report, produced in association with Workday, is a window into how top talent is being developed. 


All eyes on fashion

Fashion is producing the highest number of future CEOs, representing 37% of the names on the list.  

This includes Frasers Group chief customer officer David Clark. Clark’s promotion from group digital director to chief customer officer in February was the latest in an impressive career trajectory, which began with him working as a graduate store manager for Arcadia in 2005. 

Sweaty Betty chief marketing officer Kerry Williams also features, having been appointed in November 2023 to help the athleisure brand return to profit with a savvy customer strategy.  

Williams, a former Great Britain hockey player, has more than 14 years of experience in sports retail and was formerly chief marketing officer at connected fitness and wearable tech brand Myzone.

She also spent more than a decade at Nike, where roles included brand manager for Nike Global Football before rising to brand director for Nike Training. 


The future is female

Significantly, 53% of our next retail CEOs are women. In contrast, women represented 35% of new retail CEO appointments in 2023, according to Korn Ferry’s latest tracker.

Rhian Bartlett, chief commercial officer for food at Sainsbury’s, is among the Future Leaders 2024 recognised.

Bartlett, who was recently promoted from food commercial director, is charged with leading the retailer’s ongoing acceleration of its Food First strategy and contributing to its Next Level strategy of gaining grocery market share. 


Graduate programmes bear fruit

Several of the names on our list started on retail graduate schemes, which highlights the success of these programmes in building future leaders.

Superdrug’s own brand director Jamie Archer is one such example. Archer began his career on the Boots undergraduate programme, where he spent four years, followed by eight years in roles at L’Oréal and Unilever.

Archer joined Superdrug as head of own brand and exclusives in 2018. In March 2022, he became the youngest-ever member of Superdrug’s board, aged just 34. 

Future Leaders 2024 in numbers 


Future Leaders 2024

Who are tomorrow’s CEOs and what can you learn from them? Access your free Future Leaders 2024 report today to get to know them.  You will also discover: 

  • Which three retailers are top breeding grounds for future talent – and why? 
  • The skills and capabilities needed from the modern chief executive
  • Retail’s most common career routes to the top  

Retail Week’s Future Leaders programme inspires and supports retail’s young talent, whoever they are, whatever their background. 

Our mission, through our year-long retail career accelerator programme, is to foster a diverse leadership future by equipping young people with the confidence, creativity and skills to thrive in retail. 

Using Retail Week’s unrivalled networks and industry knowledge, we open eyes to career opportunities in retail, support young people to build vital networks and empower them fulfil their career dreams.

Everyone should have an equal chance to succeed. We’re here to help make that happen.