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After success with Lovefilm, Simon served as CEO at Mothercare. He’s now behind a major tech fund and Chairman of moo.com, the print-on-demand firm. In presentations Simon explores the emerging models, what large companies can learn from small ones and where the next waves of innovation will come from. Acknowledging that every organisation has its own rhythm, Simon shows how to communicate changes, revolutionise culture and track performance.
As CEO of LoveFilm, Simon Calver built the business, oversaw more than 55% of the DVD rental market in the UK and the shift away from physical product to streaming, before selling the company to Amazon. He moved from LoveFilm to take the helm as CEO of Mothercare, a brand he viewed as having huge, hitherto neglected, opportunity both online and in ‘bricks and mortar’.
Simon previously worked in brands and marketing with Unilever, and as a VP at Dell and PepsiCo. He spent three years in the US for the soft drinks company, launching Pepsi Max, Pepsi Blue and developing the Pepsi Music activity. He was also charged with stemming losses and overhauling global strategy and operations.
Returning to the UK, Simon indulged his love of and background in technology at Video Island, part of a nascent online video rental market. Through a series of acquisitions, including buying Amazon’s rental business, Simon grew what became LoveFilm. By the time he left the business, it had expanded its market tenfold, moved from renting DVDs to focus streaming, and sold the business back to Amazon.
At Mothercare, Simon was charged with a strategic overhaul of the struggling retailer. The size, location, number and nature of its stores, the brand’s online offerings, international markets, and its Early Learning Centre chain were all subject to his scrutiny. Under pressure online and from supermarkets, Simon took drastic action on Mothercare’s multichannel strategy.
Simon now leads a venture growth fund with interests in everything from restaurants to retailers, luxury goods to alternative energy. He is also on the board of online pharmacy ChemistDirect, and the Chair of moo.com, the online business printers. A firm believer that borrowed ideas can sometimes reap the greatest rewards, Simon covers the entrepreneurial, growth, strategic and marketing lessons from LoveFilm and his other business. He might also mention his run-ins with the Spice Girls and Michael Jackson.
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Simon’s LoveStory speech, with a film illustrating each early year of the business, demonstrates the ideals he still sticks to - you must be the culture of your business, and you mustn’t compromise or delegate that responsibility. Listening to him, you know he practises as he preaches: rewarding customers, continually challenging his people and developing relationships wherever he sees potential. JLA Agent Barbara de Lacy
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Simon Calver Conference Speaker