Following his appointment earlier this year as Chief Executive of retail giant B&Q, we caught up with Martyn Phillips (BA (Hons) Human Movement Studies 1990) for a rapid-fire Q&A...
Q: What made you choose UWIC?
I’m Welsh. When I visited an Open Day I really liked the feel of the place. I was into Sport and really liked the campus facilities.
Q: Were you in any clubs or societies at UWIC?
Just the rugby club.
Q: Which of your lecturers do you remember fondly?
Martyn Phillips (left) catching up with old friends Neil Ward and James Stead
Q: What has been your career path since graduating?
I wanted to work in HR and in Retail in particular, so limited my focus to this. I joined WH Smith as a graduate trainee in HR. I progressed quite quickly then left to join Kingfisher in London. I worked for Woolworths for 8 years as part of Kingfisher in various roles in HR across stores, distribution and its Head Office. I joined B&Q in 2002 in HR and became HR Director in 2005. I then progressed to Operations Director, basically running all the stores in 2008. I’ve recently been promoted to CEO – B&Q UK and Ireland.
Q: Do you have any advice for this year’s graduates?
Do something you enjoy and something you are good at. Be prepared to move around if you want to progress. You are never ready for your next job so be prepared to take some risks, You’ll learn most from what you do and who you work for. Take on roles that challenge you. I strongly believe people can do more than realise.
Q: Are you in touch with any other UWIC alumni?
I see about 15 close friends from my UWIC days regularly, at least 2 or 3 times a year. We tend to get together for events auch as Wales v England rugby, rather than the bigger more organised events. We also have a “Christmas boys night out” every year.