Page 4 - November 2020
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who’s who in retail












                                                                       MEETS

                                                             João





                                                             Cepeda








                                                              FOUNDER, PRESIDENT AND CREATIVE DIRECTOR,
                                                              TIME OUT MARKET


        Q. Given the current market conditions, have you had to alter   able to give good inputs but also, and more importantly, people that
        or re-evaluate your key objectives over the coming 12 months?     are able to prove that those inputs work. This can only be achieved by
        A. Of course, I think it would be absolutely mad for any company in   transforming whatever is in front of you. Authenticity is the key word
        the world right now to not change the way they are looking at reality.   of this decade. I don’t know of a single leader that the world admires
        Twelve  months  is  a  short  period  of  time  and  every  solid  company   right now that was not authentic and that was not able to make his
        should have a strategy and a plan for the coming five years at least, if   company show its authenticity to its clients and customers.
        not more. Our objectives are to basically keep alive all of the fantastic
        achievements that we have accomplished in the past couple of years   Q.  What do you make of social media and its prominent rise
        and to keep our projects healthy and exciting.        in importance over the last few years, and how important do
                                                              you feel e-commerce and online activities will continue to be?
        Q.  How would you say the Covid-19 outbreak has affected   A. Social media channels tend to mature very quickly, especially for
        your business in the last weeks and months, and will it affect   the younger generations, the post-millennials. We thought brands
        your plans moving forward?                            like Facebook would be here forever but for the younger audience
        A. Obviously it has affected us dramatically.  We have been closed for a couple   it’s already old news. This is one of the reasons why I feel social
        of months in all of our markets which is definitely something that we, as an   media  will  grow  into  something  different. The  other  one  is  the
        industry, were all unprepared for. But instead of trying to reshape the business   more  than  predictable  trend  of  many  people  to  fight  against  the
        or even changing our goals, we believe this is all temporary, so we are trying   amount of time they spend on them. There will be an enormous
        to  cope  with  these  difficult  moments,  focusing  on  short-term  solutions.   challenge  here,  on  how  to  balance  the  use  of  these  tools  in  the
        Normality will come again and the new normal will be the old normal.  future. E-commerce and online activities… that’s a different thing.
                                                              The  pandemic  made  them  win  the  fight  against  traditional  retail.
        Q.  What  key  leadership  skills  do  you  feel  are  the  most   What’s next, in this specific battleground, is one of the most exciting
        important in the current retail climate?              business challenges of our time.
        A. For me resilience is very important. We need to stay optimistic to
        keep motivating all the members of our teams and ensure them that   Q. What would you consider to be your career highlights?
        the gloomy days will soon be over and that there is a light at the end   A. I was fortunate enough to have a couple of good milestones in my
        of the tunnel. Then of course we all need economical control. In that   professional life but of course founding this concept with a team of
        sense we are privileged as we have strong shareholders that believe in   brilliant professionals is by far the most important one. The fact that it
        the power and potential of this brand. We need to show this strength   became one of the (if not The) benchmark of the whole food-hall trend
        to all of our network and everybody that depends on us.  around the world, is a fantastic feeling.

        Q.   As  a  leader,  when  making  key  strategic  decisions,  what   Q.  Do you have any words of warning for the industry as we
        proportion of the decision do you feel is fact-based and what   head into unchartered territory?
        proportion is instinctual?                            A. Keep strong and wait if you can. I don’t think we should try to
        A. It depends on the leader profile, I guess – being the Founder of   reinvent the wheel as now is definitely not the time for it. I think for all
        the Market project and the Creative Director still at this moment, I of   of us that work on new products, new projects and new developments
        course rely on the instinctual part in the decision making process and   need to focus on what’s going to happen in 2021 and 2022.
        that is what I bring to the companies I work in.
                                                              Q.  Any final thoughts or anything else you would like to add?
        Q.    Do  you  think  a  leader  can  be  both  transformational     A. I would just underline that confidence note – I still see a lot of
        and authentic?                                        business plans that put a very dark shadow in the numbers for next
        A. I think they have to be. Transformational, to begin with, because   year, 2022 and even 2023. Again, I don’t think it’s needed: we will get
        that’s what every company needs nowadays. You need people that are   back to normal!



        04 RETAIL & LEISURE INTERNATIONAL NOVEMBER 2020
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