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How I became the transformation director at Well

Published on: 21 Jul 2017

The man in charge of transforming Well’s pharmacies told C+D about the necessity of recognising the need for change.

When Chris Ellett joined The Co-op in 2015, the group had been going through a torrid time. It was in serious need of transformation.

“I joined at the time of the financial crisis and they wanted to rebuild and relaunch the Co-op – a huge colleague engagement programme,” Mr Ellett tells C+D. “Delivering to that scale was quite a challenge.”

Now Mr Ellett is working at Well, as its first transformation director, charged with delivering the multiple’s “ambitions of growth” in a tough financial climate.

“It's no secret that the [pharmacy] industry is going through quite a bit of change,” says Mr Ellett.

“That is what I like, and what I do. Pretty much throughout my career I’ve come into an organisation that has been through a difficult time – the Co-op is probably the biggest one. Taking some of those experiences, it creates opportunity,” he says.

He began his career with pharmaceutical companies GlaxoSmithKline and AstraZeneca, working with pharmacists. 

From pharmaceuticals, he moved to retail, working at Shop Direct at a time when it was transitioning from traditional catalogue-based shopping to the internet.

Just as digital developments have disrupted the high street supermarket and fashion retailers, so pharmacy should prepare for “quite an exciting time”, Mr Ellett says.

“The biggest challenge in any transformation isn’t about the [changes] you deliver, but it's about recognising the need for change and then [driving] motivation from colleagues,” he says.