Al-Futtaim and Chalhoub Group sign joint venture agreement
Al-Futtaim has signed a joint venture agreement with the Chalhoub Group, bringing Singapore’s leading fashion department store Robinsons to the GCC and the Middle East region.
The first Robinsons department store to be launched in the region will open in spring 2017 at Al- Futtaim’s Dubai Festival City Mall, which is currently undergoing a major expansion programme. Spanning a total of 18,000sqm across three levels, the store will be the first of many to follow in the GCC.
Paul Delaoutre, President – Retail, Al-Futtaim said: “Al-Futtaim has already been operating four Robinsons department stores in Singapore and Malaysia and through our partnership with the Chalhoub Group we will bring this unique format department store to the Middle East expanding the brand’s footprint and strengthening its international appeal.
“Robinsons department stores in the GCC will be offering contemporary fashion covering the full spectrum, from accessible to luxury in a relaxing environment where fashion is alive. We will focus on novelty and style, a large part of the offer will be completely new to the Middle East."
In 2008, Al-Futtaim acquired the Robinsons Group, regarded as Singapore’s legacy retailer. Patrick Chalhoub, Chief Executive, Chalhoub Group said: “We are excited about this partnership as we will be combining Al Futtaim’s vast experience of operating over 200 companies with our intimate knowledge of the Middle-East luxury market and consumers, in order to deliver the most relevant offer of the Department Store adapted to the Middle East customer who is now knowledgeable and assertive.”
5 minutes with... Janthana Kaenprakhamroy, CEO, Tapoly
Founder and CEO of award-winning insurtech firm Tapoly, Janthana Kaenprakhamroy heads up Europe’s first on-demand insurance platform for the gig economy, winning industry awards, innovating in the digital insurance space, and leading with inclusivity.
Here, Business Chief talks to Janthana about her leadership style and skills.
What do you do, in a nutshell?
I’m founder and CEO of Tapoly, a digital MGA providing a full stack of commercial lines insurance specifically for SMEs and freelancers, as well as a SaaS solution to connect insurers with their distribution partners. We build bespoke, end-to-end platforms encompassing the whole customer journey, but can also integrate our APIs within existing systems. We were proud to win Insurance Provider of the Year at the British Small Business Awards 2018 and receive silver in the Insurtech category at the Efma & Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards 2019.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I try to be as inclusive a leader as possible. I’m committed to creating space for everyone to shine. Many of the roles at Tapoly are performed by women and I speak at industry events to encourage more people to get involved in insurance/insurtech. Similarly, I always try to maintain a growth mindset. I think it’s important to retain values to support learning and development, like reliability, working hard and punctuality.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
Build your network and seek advice. As a leader, you need smart people around you to help you grow your business. It’s not about personally being the best, but being able to find resources and get help where needed.
How do you see leadership changing in a COVID world?
I think the pandemic has proven the importance of inclusive leadership so that everyone feels supported and valued. It’s also shown the importance of being flexible as a leader. We’ve had to remain adaptable to continue delivering high levels of customer service. This flexibility has also been important when supporting employees as everyone has had individual pressures to deal with during this time. Leaders should continue to embed this flexibility within their organisations moving forward.
They say ‘from every crisis comes opportunity’, what opportunities do you see?
The past year has been challenging, but it has also proven the importance of digital transformation in insurance. When working from home was required, it was much harder for insurers to adjust who had not embedded technology within their operating processes because they did not have data stored in the cloud and it caused communication delays with concerned customers at a time when this communication should have been a priority, which ultimately impacts the level of customer satisfaction. This demonstrates the importance of what we are trying to achieve at Tapoly in driving digitalisation in insurance and making communication between insurers and distribution partners seamless.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
Start sooner, don’t be afraid to take (calculated) risks and make sure you raise enough money to get you through the initial seed stage.