Tessiant makes senior appointments & launches Senior Industry Advisor Service


Business transformation consultancy, Tessiant, has launched a dedicated service to introduce change management leaders to enterprises, SMEs and start-ups. The Senior Industry Advisor Service will be led by new appointee, Danielle Xerxes, who brings eleven years’ experience in high-level executive search.

Explaining the new service, Tessiant co-founder, Anna Barsby, said, “Often organisations hire non-executive directors to guide them during periods of transition, such as entering new territories, mergers and acquisitions, divestment and digital transformation. However, a range of different specialists may need to be brought in at different phases of the change management programme. Tessiant Senior Industry Advisor Service delivers precisely the right people at the point where they can deliver the most impact to ensure successful outcomes.”

The new Senior Industry Advisor service will provide organisations with the ideal combination of board-level consultants, each of whom have worked on major change management programmes with leading brands including Sainsbury’s, Marks and Spencer, Asda, Maersk, Mars and Coats.

“Rather than engaging in lengthy consultancy, Tessiant Senior Industry Advisors use their in-depth experience to get straight to the heart of business issues and then roll up their sleeves and work alongside senior management teams to develop effective change management plans,” says Xerxes. “My role is to identify and represent Senior Industry Advisors who have the requisite expertise and who can work most productively with each organisation to deliver sustainable change.”

To support the new service, Tessiant has also appointed Stuart Smith as Managing Partner. Smith brings more than thirty years’ experience of leading and running businesses in the grocery and retail sectors, working with Tesco, Coles, and Morrisons in senior roles which included managing stores, back-office operations, supply chains and logistics.

During his twenty five year career with Tesco, Smith held a number of senior roles in the UK and internationally, including Chief Operating Officer (COO) of its Malaysian business and Retail Director for Taiwan, Republic of China, as well as Property Director responsible for Space, Range and Merchandising across UK and Ireland. Building on this experience, Smith spent the following two years as Retail Director for Coles supermarket group, where he was responsible for more than five hundred stores across Australia.

Working as a consultant, Smith was part of the senior team that delivered the transformation programme across the Walgreens store estate in North America during the merger between Boots and US retail pharmacy chain, Walgreens.

Known for his success in running enterprise change programmes that improve businesses and business functions, in 2015 Smith was appointed as the Operations Director at Morrisons as part of its turnaround team, where he worked with the executive team on modernising its end-to-end supply chain operations. In partnership with Blue Yonder, Smith introduced an award-winning AI and machine learning-powered stock forecasting system which matched supply to demand, improved product availability, reduced shelf gaps by 30 per cent, and delivered competitive advantage to the business. Smith also implemented a number of business improvements including closer collaboration with suppliers and the restructuring of supply chain teams, better visibility and traceability of stock and the introduction of a new warehouse management system across Morrisons’ estate.

As an independent consultant, Smith most recently worked with Blue Yonder, Berkshire Grey, Asda and Adobe, helping organisations to understand how automation, AI, machine learning and robotics and can be applied to improve accuracy, efficiency and address resource shortage.

“I’m known for driving business profit and loss improvements, improving the capability of colleagues and large teams, and delivering technology-enabled transformation, but the heart of my career has been about helping people to make improvements that transform the business. Success is built on using technology to supplement and improve the capability of your people,” says Smith.

Commenting on his appointment as managing partner at Tessiant, Stuart Smith said, “It’s a privilege to be able to work with professionals whom I trust and admire as much as Anna Barsby. She and co-founders, Matt Neale and Alex Ball, have built a truly impressive team of business transformation specialists over the past eighteen months. I’m looking forward to working with this expanded team to help companies to make effective changes that add real value to their customers.”