PROMOTIONAL RESEARCH

Last month, Retail Week published its annual Retail 100 list, the 19th celebration of the UK’s most influential leaders, which included its annual Ones to Watch forecast. The leaders of Rituals and Dr Martens were among the 14 people tipped to make the list next year

Decided by a panel of Retail Week’s esteemed journalists and retail analysts, the Retail 100 is the definitive index of the country’s most inspiring individuals setting the agenda for the industry.  

While they did not make the main index, 14 individuals were recognised as Ones to Watch – inspiring names that Retail Week believes will either be driving major growth at the helm of a UK retailer in the next five years or are already leading a burgeoning retailer or brand set to become an even bigger name. 

Among the 14 recognised are retailers Ije Nwokorie and Annemarie Forsyth, and health guru Tim Spector. Read on for strategic profiles of the trio below and view the full Ones to Watch list here.  

Ije Nwokorie - Dr Martens

Ije Nwokorie, incoming chief executive, Dr Martens

Ije Nwokorie, currently Dr Martens’ chief brand officer, was named among Retail Week’s Future Leaders in March, with the prediction that he would become a UK chief executive in the next five years.  

This forecast came true quickly when, in April, the footwear retailer announced that Nwokorie would be succeeding long-time boss Kenny Wilson as chief executive at the end of the current financial year. 

It has been a rapid rise to the top of the retail ladder for Nwokorie, who joined Dr Martens in February having moved from tech and advertising roles, yet he is no stranger to leading a company.  

He spent almost four years from April 2014 to December 2017 as chief executive of media group Wolff Olins, working with clients including EE, First Direct and the London 2012 Olympics.

Tech acumen is another skill Nwokorie boasts as a former senior director at Apple, where he served from 2018 to February 2024.  

With Wilson supporting Nwokorie on the transition, 2025 will be when we see this one to watch put his experience into play.  

Annemarie Forsyth - Rituals

Annemarie Forsyth, managing director, Rituals 

Former Victoria’s Secret UK and Ireland managing director Annemarie Forsyth joined Rituals as managing director in November 2023, succeeding Penny Grivea. 

Working with chief executive Raymond Cloosterman, Forsyth is tasked with fulfilling the beauty brand’s ambitious expansion plans, including opening 25 new stores by the end of 2024. 

While less than nine months into the role, she has already started to make her mark, including relocating the luxury retailer’s Manchester Arndale store to a new 2,194 sq ft unit in New Cannon Street and overseeing new store openings in Winchester and the West Midlands. 

All eyes will now be on Forsyth – who previously spent 13 years at Zara parent Inditex in roles including commercial director and UK country director – to see whether she can fulfil the company’s ambition of exceeding €2bn (£1.69bn) in global sales this year.

For its 2023 full-year results, Rituals reported global net sales of €1.7bn (£1.45bn), a growth of 22% on net sales of €1.4bn (£1.18bn) reported during the same time last year.  

Tim Spector - Zoe

Tim Spector OBE, co-founder, Zoe

Epidemiologist and celebrity doctor Tim Spector is merging nutritional science with retail in his health company Zoe.

Professor Spector, who has been researching food health for more than 30 years, co-founded Zoe in 2021 offering customers at-home tests, personalised food scores and advice from experts in science and nutrition. 

In January, Spector and his team expanded into the grocery sector, launching a branded gut health drink with Marks & Spencer.

M&S Food x Zoe Gut Shot is a fermented milk drink containing more than 5 billion live cultures from 14 different strains of friendly bacteria. A first for both companies, the product flew off the shelves in M&S stores during the first two days of launch. 

Then, in June, Zoe launched the Daily30+ supplement, a savoury powder containing more than 30 plants designed to be sprinkled on foods to boost nutrition. Currently sold directly, the supplement will be rolled out to Waitrose stores from July 17. 

Zoe already boasts more than 100,000 members for its personalised nutrition programme and Spector’s aim is to reach “millions”.

He says the company’s mission is to become a brand for the many, not the few, making him a surefire one to watch for 2025.  

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Find out who else features among our Ones to Watch and meet the Retail 100 leaders changing the way the industry thinks, operates and sells with your free copy of the report here

Find out:  

  • If you or your colleagues have made the index 
  • The fresh faces making the industry stand to attention
  • Which Strategists, People Champions, Experience Innovators, Sustainability Activists and Disruptors are shaping retail