Harding Travel Retail announce two major appointments to its Leadership Team

Harding has announced today two significant appointments: Mike Coupe will join as Non-Executive Chairman, and Matthew Hodges will join the Executive Leadership team as Chief Commercial Officer. The appointments will support the acceleration of their quaternity approach – a combined partnership of cruise lines, brands, retailer and customers.

Coupe led Sainsbury’s (a £30bn turnover UK based retailer, employing 165k people) for 6 years as CEO including architecting its’ takeover of Home Retail Group. In a career spanning 35 years, Coupe has also worked at a number of the UK’s leading retail businesses including Iceland, Asda and Tesco. He joins with immediate effect and will help reinforce Harding’s expertise as a specialist retailer supporting their partners.

“Mike Coupe said, “I’m very excited to be joining Harding at a pivotal time for the business and I look forward to working with James and the leadership team to realise the business’ ambitions in 2021 and beyond.”

Hodges, was most recently President of Godiva, and previously held senior commercial roles at Remy Cointreau as Sales & Marketing Director, and Diageo as Director of Strategy. Hodges will join the business on August 2nd.

With over 20 years of Travel Retail experience having led the strategic programmes for some of the world’s greatest brands, Hodges is well versed in driving commercial growth, identifying channel strategies and structures, and is no stranger to cruise having worked with Harding on a number of dynamic programmes. 

Hodges will lead the Global Retail Operations, and Buying & Merchandising teams reporting to Harding Managing Director, James Prescott.

Hodges said: “I am delighted to be joining the Harding team. I have watched and participated in the success of the business as an outsider and now cannot wait to develop the internal programme for the next stage of growth and return to cruise.”

Harding Managing Director James Prescott said: “The appointments of Mike & Matthew is testimony to the confidence in the cruise retail market, and our place within it. I’ve worked with Matthew over the years in various guises, and have been a huge admirer of his strategic vision, action based approach, and leadership style. His reputation in the industry really is second to none. Matthew will be a huge asset to us, and all our business partners.

Mike will add significant guidance and leadership to us as we enter this exciting new phase of the journey. Both appointments strengthen an extremely strong and talented leadership team that has worked tirelessly over the past 16 months to keep the dream alive. That dream is now becoming a reality as the ships return to service. 

The new organisational structure will seriously enhance the capability of the business and support the long term partnerships we’ve established, by getting closer to the market and our customers. I couldn’t be more delighted and excited about this announcement.”