Chief executive, Halfords

David Wild Chief executive Halfords

Likeable former Tesco and Wal-mart man David Wild is a fountain of retail experience, and he has needed to draw on all of it in a year when Halfords’ performance has ebbed and flowed amid challenging conditions in some of its key categories.

Problems with a new warehouse haven’t helped matters, nor has the discovery of a historic exposure to some of the lease liabilities of failed DIY chain Focus. However, the Halfords chief executive has shown a willingness to embrace change and explore new opportunities, most notably by purchasing car servicing business Nationwide in a move back into services.Wild is a real thinker when it comes to retail, as his regular columns in Retail Week bear testament, and he loves a debate about the latest thinking in the industry.

In areas as diverse as private label and multichannel, he continues to push Halfords to innovate, which should ensure the business is well-placed to meet the challenges presented by the many competitors in its key categories.