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What’s not to love about Kuwait jobs? We are working with Alghanim Industries in their search for a GM of Ecommerce based in Shuwaikh, Kuwait. Alghanim (pronounced “al-GAH-num”) won the prestigious “Best Corporate Governance Kuwait – 2012” award from World Finance, a London-based, international finance magazine. Mark Schmitz, CFO, and George Lambros, Controller, received the award in a ceremony at the London Stock Exchange. Notice Mr. Schmitz’ comments on the firm’s ecommerce initiatives …

The Ecommerce GM shall develop Alghanim’s ecommerce business and establish its site, Xcite.com, as one of the most credible online destinations in the mid-east. You’ll be responsible for all elements of Alghanim’s online marketing, including budgeting and driving traffic to Xcite.com through SEO, SEM, PPC, and Affiliate marketing in an effort to increase sales, conversion and margin.

HARRY’S COMMENTS: Where do I begin? There are so many cool things to know about Alghanim, the country of Kuwait, and the nature of this role. I could write 2000 words on each, but I won’t because the client is using a European recruiter for this search and rang me up when they realized that they had an interest in American ecommerce talent.

Funny story: Back in 2010, when the dollar was low and gold was high, I closed a search for an Australian client who sought a US ecommerce executive to run his far-flung online business. At the onset of the search, I asked him “Why are you looking for an American candidate? Why now?” His answer was priceless …

“America’s commerce executives are like its basketball players.”

“… You invented the game of basketball, and you have world-class programs for identifying, developing, and rewarding the talent. Likewise, you pretty much invented the game of ecommerce, and you obviously have world-class programs for identifying, developing, and rewarding the talent. Your people are among the best in the world at what they do. And given the weakness of the US dollar, your talent is on sale 40% off.”

While the dollar’s fortunes have since improved, my client’s “arbitrage mentality” is one of the things I like most about international business. A US ecommerce executive who has been grinding it out against Amazon everyday for the last 10 years would likely have a field day in a market like Kuwait — like having Mike Tyson as a sparring partner prior to entering a local YMCA box off.

About the Client

Alghanim Industries is one of the largest privately owned companies in the Gulf region. It’s an extremely multinational firm operating more than 30 businesses in 40 countries. The firm handles more than 300 global brands and agencies and has a strong presence in the Middle East and India, with operations currently extending to Eastern Europe, Africa, East and Southeast Asia. Alghanim is a market leader in almost every major sector in which it operates, and it is renowned for its progressive business culture and management philosophy.

Alghanim has a long history of success built on the early adoption of global best practices. The firm has consistently been seen as one of the region’s best employers, winning a number of major awards, including ‘Best Employer in the Middle East’ from Aon Hewitt for 2009/2010, and ‘Asia’s Best Employer Brand’ in 2011. In essence, Alghanim Industries is very good at anything it sets its mind to. Two years ago Alghanim set its mind to building a world-class ecommerce business to support its retail trade.

About the Kuwaiti Retail Market

The retail market in Kuwait is attractive to potential investors because of the increasingly affluent consumer base and the opportunity to capitalize on growing incomes. The country is moving out of the shadow of its neighbor, Dubai, with international retailers increasingly sizing up opportunities in the small but wealthy city state. In 2013, household spending in the retail sector edged up to nearly US$ 23 billion. And although the population is relatively small, the projected increase in incomes represents a strong boost for total retail household spending – especially given Kuwait’s strong and stable economic trajectory.

Although Kuwait’s household spending on the retail sector has seen consistent growth since 2008, it represents only 12.5% of the country’s GDP. There’s lots of headroom in this market. The population looks to grow modestly through 2018, with young people (0-14 years) accounting for nearly 1/4 of the total population. This cohort is the main driver for retail spending, accounting for nearly 45% of the total.

These trends are extremely bullish for categories like consumer electronics, where Alghanim intends to increase its bets. With Kuwait’s strong consumption culture, the high-end consumer electronics market is very strong, making the country a fertile ground for Apple products as well as innovation in tablets and laptops hybrids. The consumer electronics market is developing fast, with the emergence of big-box retailers and other formats common in the United States.

About the Role

As stated above, I refuse to share publicly much of what I know about this role (which is a lot!) given the participation of another recruiter on this search. What I can say is that there are 55 people on Alghanim’s ecommerce team, and the ideal candidate will have managed an 8 figure ecommerce P&L while leading major initiatives in ecommerce CMS, customer care, logistics, order management systems, site search, web design and user experience. Additionally, we really need someone who knows how to plug a major ERP initiative into a platform such as ATG, Websphere, or Hybris.

Basically, this role is all about identifying inefficient loops in Alghanim’s ecom business and developing roadmaps to address them. That means mapping the road to profitability and carving out a clear and realistic strategy for achieving it.

At the end of the day, digital commerce shows real promise for Alghanim, and this is your chance to be part of a major growth story with one of them best-known privately held companies in the Middle East. Due to ex-patriot tax laws, the compensation for this role is phenomenal. Moreover, this role offers a wonderful opportunity to work in one of the most culturally diverse ecommerce environments I’ve ever seen. Alghanim has roughly 60 nationalities working under one umbrella, and any aspiring global business leader would want to have accomplished something great in such an environment.

And of course, Kuwait is amazing: Globetrotters and travel buffs love Kuwait for being perfectly placed on the map, with 3 continents within 3 flying hours. Meaning, Kuwait offers plenty of opportunities to explore rich the rich cultural confluence of Africa, Europe, and Asia. How could you not apply?

Please apply below …

Harry Joiner

View Harry Joiner's profile on LinkedIn

Reporting to Alghanim’s VP Retail, you will be responsible for:

  • Owning and managing the P&L for the ecommerce business while maintaining good corporate governance.
  • Creating and delivering a best in class business model delivers world-class capability in UX, CX, pricing, marketing, purchasing, fraud and logistics
  • Developing a plan to improve Xcite’s user interface and conversion rate
  • Defining the ecommerce roadmap inclusive of information architecture, user experience / navigation, site search, web analytics, site features and functionality and transaction processing
  • Managing business requirements development in partnership with Information Technology to drive development initiatives that support the ecommerce roadmap
  • Ensuring the day-to-day operational reliability including site up-time, functionality up-time, transaction processing functionality and product presentation in partnership with Group network operations, web development and database teams
  • Integrating feedback from Customer Service and on-site customer search data to improve site functionality and product presentation requirements
  • Ensuring timely and accurate deployment of new products, product updates, and pricing changes from a site operational perspective
  • Managing site quality control and efforts to ensure feature and functionality performance
  • Building, developing and leading a high performance team
  • Fostering a collaborative and supportive relationship between the stores, category management and head office support functions to leverage full support.

Education and Experience

  • Strong background in ecommerce start ups
  • Experience developing on line retail strategy
  • P&L Management experience
  • Marketing / Business degree desirable
  • Solid experience in applying online best practices, tactics and tools with an excellent knowledge of the latest developments
  • Demonstrated understanding of ecommerce processes, enabling technology and systems functionality

Skills Required

  • Excellent grasp of e commerce technology including Magento, PHP and online exposure through PPC, SEM & SEO
  • Strong business financial & acumen
  • Self-motivated, able to work independently, and willing to handle concurrent tasks.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills with diverse types of people. Must be a well rounded ecommerce executive with entrepreneurial flair


PS – If you’re thinking about changing jobs this year (though us or anyone else), you might want to check out this post on why even TOP candidates get rejected.

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