New senior hires as Harding+ sharpens focus on efficiency and growth

By Luke Barras-hill |

Bill Showalter will join the business in September as Chief Financial Officer.

Global cruise retailer Harding+ has announced the recruitment of Bill Showalter as Chief Financial Officer and Mikos Taylor as IT Director.

The appointments come as the company, which has doubled in size post-Covid to serve a fleet of more than 90 ships, targets further growth and business efficiencies.

Showalter will join Harding+ from the £700m annual turnover horticulture business Flamingo Group, where he has spent three-and-a-half years as CFO.

Prior to this, he was Young’s Seafood CEO for three-and-a-half years with his CV also counting senior finance roles at Starwood Hotels, Heinz and Findus.

No time to stand still…

Mikos Taylor is the firm’s first executive level IT Director.

Harding+ Chief Executive Officer James Prescott said: “This is a significant signing to help us match our ambitions and retain our edge when we know we are in a world of both great opportunity for the sector, coupled with well-reported global challenges.

“Bill’s impressive track record of leadership and experience in complex retail businesses will help us tighten up commercial relationships, costs of doing business and the best of forward thinking financial planning.

“Effective collaboration is vital in any partnership, and we live and breathe that in our purpose to make every cruise better, and to consolidate our position as the industry’s first choice retailer.

“We can’t stand still, and as part of that, collaboration needs to be a live discussion, where Bill will add great value alongside our great partners who have always worked with us on solutions matched to the climate.”

Harding+ says technology is an integral part of its infrastructure strategy, with ‘significant investment’ in a new ERP system designed to strengthen model pricing, business profitability and data leveraging to support state-of-the-art stock replenishment systems.

Shortly, the company will be rolling out retail planning platform Dataviva.

Led by Harding+ Deputy CEO and COO Mark Birnie, the platform will add smart AI into the mix for best-in-class supply chain planning and optimisation.

To maximise investment in the ERP system and technology, Harding+ has also appointed Mikos Taylor as its first executive level IT Director.

Taylor arrives at Harding+ from high street retailer Morrisons, where he spent almost two years as Head of Technology, following eight-and-a-half years at footwear retailer Clarks, and two years at digital transformation consultants Capgemini.

He will be tasked with tech efficiency, agility and optimising data insights that help to underpin decision making alongside the company’s cruise partners, brand partners and guest insights.

Prescott says “next stage IT and data capabilities” will help the cruise retailer align with guests’ needs, lead on retail trends and shape brand experiences.

“I know all our partners will benefit from this and the energy Mikos will bring to these developments,” added Prescott.

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