Richard Townsend has been appointed as the airport’s new Head of Retail, with Gail Taylor also coming on board as Commercial Retail Manager.
Both bring a wealth of retail and commercial experience to Edinburgh Airport, with Gail already started in to her new role and Richard officially beginning his in mid-July.
Having begun his career working for Sainsbury’s for eight years, Richard moved to Somerfields before making the transition into the airport retail industry at Heathrow Airport. As the Retail Operations Product Manager at Heathrow, Richard developed the retail merchandise strategy for the Terminal 1 extension to incorporate the additional 40,000sqft of commercial space.
Following his time at Heathrow, Richard moved to Gatwick and held a number of roles including Head of Commercial Operations and Customer Experience Leader, as well as Head of Strategic and Operational Readiness for the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Richard’s role at Gatwick was introduced in order to establish the Retail Performance team, providing him with the perfect platform to lead Edinburgh Airport’s Commercial department through the next stage of its growth. As Head of Retail, Richard will be responsible for leading the team of dedicated retail managers, as well as focusing on online sales, media and marketing. His appointment follows an exhaustive search in the market with the help of James Fassnidge from Drax Executives.
Commenting on his appointment, Richard said: “I am looking forward to joining the team at Edinburgh Airport, particularly at this exciting time. Over the last few weeks I have had the opportunity to get to know the team and I’m confident that with my previous experience of airport retail we can provide our passengers with the best retail choices.”
Before joining Edinburgh Airport’s Commercial team, Gail Taylor previously worked for World Duty Free Group (WDFG) for 13 years.
During her time with WDFG, she held a number of retail management positions, working primarily between Glasgow and Edinburgh airport stores.
With a depth of retail knowledge in both airports of Scotland’s major airports, Gail will be key in identifying passenger trends and profiles – something which will be crucial for a successful airport commercial team.
Gail has also completed several secondment positions in Heathrow, Gatwick and international stores, including Orlando, Malaga and Barcelona, working mainly on key projects to enhance the WDFG offering.
Welcoming these new appointments, John Watson, Chief Commercial Officer at Edinburgh Airport, said, “We’re delighted to welcome both Richard and Gail to Edinburgh Airport. Individuals of their calibre will fit in extremely well and will be able to use their skills and experience to help develop our Commercial team further.
“At Edinburgh Airport we’re dedicated to providing our passengers with the best. We’re looking forward to working with Richard and Gail, whose passion and experience will help align our focus on improving the airport experience for our customers and further enhance our commitment to route development.”