Matthew Hodges and Mike Coupe bolster Harding’s leadership team

By Luke Barras-hill |

Coupe (left) and Hodges (right) have joined Harding’s leadership team.

Harding has made two heavyweight appointments in a bid to accelerate the company’s ‘quarternity approach’ of partnering with cruise lines, brands, retailers and customers.

Respected DF&TR executive Hodges, familiar for his 20-plus years in the industry where he has served in key roles for the likes of Diageo, Rémy Cointreau and more recently Godiva – where he served as President – joins the Executive Leadership Team as Chief Commercial Officer.

A seasoned retail executive, Hodges is adept at identifying channel structures and strategies and has worked with Harding on various dynamic programmes.

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

James Prescott, Managing Director, Harding.


Meanwhile, former chief of UK supermarket chain Sainsbury’s Mike Coupe has joined the Bristol-headquartered cruise retailer as Non-Executive Chairman.

Coupe stepped down as Sainsbury’s CEO in 2020 after helming the firm for six years.

During his 35-year career, he has also worked for a number of leading UK businesses including Iceland, Asda and Tesco.

He will offer guidance to Harding in supporting its partners as a specialist retailer.

Hodges joins the company on 2 August and Coupe’s appointment takes place with immediate effect.

“I am delighted to be joining the Harding team,” commented Hodges. “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.”

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.”

Prescott added: “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.”

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