Family-run jewellers Laings has today (30 September), announced the appointment of a nine-strong board of directors.

With ambitious plans to strengthen its presence across the UK, Laings has made the decision to establish a formal Board of Directors, responsible for the running of the 181-year-old organisation. Joining CEO Joe Walsh, the Board will help the company to build on its legacy as a leading destination for luxury jewellery and watches.

Embarking on a new era while staying true to its heritage, Laings has announced a series of internal promotions, welcoming the following former Heads of Departments into formal Director roles at Laings:

  • Colin McCormack, Procurement Director
  • Sally Pearson (nee Alobaidi), Marketing Director
  • Claire Campbell, Finance Director
  • Jill Aniola, HR Director

Former Retail Director Stuart McDowell is also taking on a new role as Managing Director. With over 20 years’ experience in the watch and jewellery trade, Stuart brings a wealth of experience from wholesale to customer service and has been instrumental in navigating Laings through the pandemic over the last 18 months. As Managing Director, Stuart will lead the next phase of development for Laings, continuing to work alongside its partners and brands to redefine a truly luxury retail experience, while providing development opportunities for the whole team.

Joe Walsh will remain in post as CEO with a focus on driving the strategic direction of the business, as well as continuing to manage key relationships with Laings partners and the financing of the company. Stuart Laing will also continue in his role as Chairman of the business, Wendy Walsh (nee Laing) as Director and Richard Laing as Sales Director.

The decision to restructure at senior management level to support Laings’ business development came after the introduction of additional departments, alongside the announcement of its £10m retail expansion strategy earlier this year. With extensive transformation plans already underway across the business, Laings is on a journey of evolution to challenge jewellery and watchmaking retail experiences – bringing innovation to every area of the business, while never forgetting the deep-rooted heritage that anchors the Laings story.

Having been at the helm of the day-to-day management of the business throughout the pandemic, Joe Walsh navigated Laings through an unprecedented period. Praising the team around him, he said: “When the pandemic hit, we had to change the way we operated in order to steer it through the unchartered territory, and our team leaders were at the forefront of this.

“Now, as we embark on the next exciting chapter of Laings’ journey, with the relaunch of our Cardiff showroom on the horizon, it is time to adjust the way we work so that there are clear lines of responsibility, we comply fully with corporate governance but most importantly, we remain robust for the future. The appointment of a formal Board is fitting for a business of our size and will support the direction of Laings as we continue to roll out our expansion plans over the next 18 months.”

In addition to the board appointments, Laings Edinburgh Manager, Brian Nelson, will move into the role of Head of Retail, taking on responsibility for all six of Laings’ showrooms across four locations – Glasgow, Edinburgh, Southampton and Cardiff.

Through six generations of family ownership, Laings has grown to become a leading independent luxury jeweller, offering a curated selection of fine jewellery and watches from some of the world’s most prestigious brands, including Rolex and Patek Philippe, as well as bespoke design and repair services by the in-house team of master watchmakers, goldsmiths and jewellery designers.

Having unveiled its vision for the future earlier this year, Laings has a number of projects in the pipeline which will see it transform its showrooms and workshops, reimagining the customer experience while ensuring traditional jewellers’ crafts are kept alive for generations to come.

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