Harrison continues to be at the forefront of the retail revolution surrounding personal connectivity of electronics equipment. With the recession biting deep, progress in opening Best Buy Europe's Big Box stores has been slower than expected. But the furrow Harrison is ploughing is attracting the interest of his retail competitors, who have started to instill his way of thinking into their own retail plans. Harrison's personal standing in the company was boosted in the spring following his promotion to UK CEO in place of American Scott Wheway.
Chief executive Andrew Harrison has world class ambitions for Carphone Warehouse. Harrison has recognised the structural change coming in the shape of connectivity between different consumer electronics products - and has put The Carphone Warehouse ahead of the field in preparing for it. He wants the firm to become the world’s biggest retailer of mobile phones, computers and TVs. The recent deal with Best Buy, which he was pivotal in forging, brings that ambition closer to fruition with Carphone Warehouse expanding its foothold in the States into 1,030 Best Buy stores. Closer to home Harrison has overseen a major overhaul of Carphone Warehouse, which includes a revamp of its stores, the expansion of its multi-device Wireless World stores and a major shift in customer service. This saw an increase in staff training and the scrapping of staff sales commissions in favour of bonuses paid on the basis of customer feedback. Customer focus is now the key driver. Harrison claims the move has increased staff wages whilst improving its customer satisfaction scores. Harrison has also successfully brought Vodafone back into the fold, launched an aggressive push into the laptop market and forged a deal with Apple to sell the iPad, which Harrison is convinced will soon become a’must-have’ to consumers.
Andrew Harrison has pushed himself and the business in new directions over the last year. He is now responsible for all of Carphone’s European retail operations.He has initiated a flatter management structure in the business, taking on a more hands-on role in major changes for aspects such as staff pay, the Wireless World format of stores, and propositions around mobile broadband.Harrison is one of the most respected operators in the industry, with those close to him citing his ability to make Carphone move fast and make things happen.
In 2008 Andrew ‘Stat’ Harrison was the man at the centre of the new retail venture with Best Buy. A creative deal-maker with a natural grasp of retail, operators say that Harrison has an uncanny feel for what is right for the customer. He was among the very first to realise potential for mobile broadband and dongles in the UK, and used his weight as a retailer to bring about lower prices on a par with the Continent. Without the shift in price points, the take off of mobile broadband would never have happened at the hockey stick rate we have seen. It is now the hottest game in town. Harrison is on a mission to go further, by doing for laptops what the industry has already done for mobile phones, by making them free on contract.