Australian retail legend Bernie Brookes AM has joined Swinburne to help reshape the future of retail research and promote retail as a career path.
Mr Brookes, recently CEO of Edcon, South Africa's largest non-food retailer, as well as past CEO of Myer Limited, has been appointed as an Adjunct Industry Fellow within the Customer Experience & Insight (CXI) Research Group at Swinburne Business School.
CXI, a research group that aims to advance customer experience knowledge and practice across a range of contexts, is now expanding to include both academic and industry-based adjunct staff from around the world.
After a long and prestigious career, Mr Brookes is ‘giving back’ by bringing his extensive experience in industry and continuing passion for retail to CXI.
“Retail is a great, dynamic industry and I am excited to have the opportunity to impart my knowledge and give back to others,” says Mr Brookes.
A life of retail
Prior to taking up his position at Swinburne, Mr Brookes held roles as CEO of Edcon in South Africa and Australian retail institution Myer Limited.
He was also Director of Woolworths Australia and was inducted into the Australian Retail Hall of Fame in 2013.
After working in the retail industry internationally, Mr Brookes hopes his global perspective can make an impact in Australia.
“Australian retail is somewhat insular and we can learn much from other countries. I have been fortunate to work in the retail sector across four countries, and I hope to impart that knowledge.”
Advancing the study of ‘experience’
Mr Brookes will join the recently formed CXI Research Group, which studies customer experience across the four pillars of retail and consumer behaviour, service innovation, employee experience, and sport and wellbeing.
Deep industry engagement is central to CXI’s mission, and CXI Co-Director Associate Professor Sean Sands is excited for the insight, perspective, and experience that Mr Brookes will bring to the research group.
“The addition of Mr Brookes to the CXI group brings together a cutting-edge grouping of academics, industry leaders, and global experts to advance the art and science of experience and assist Australian brands to compete beyond price.”
Associate Professor Sands notes that the long-awaited arrival of Amazon on Australian shores makes this a crucial moment for local retailers and, therefore, the perfect time to bring together a group of professionals and academics to help Australian brands compete beyond price.
“This role recognises Bernie’s vast contributions to the retail sector in Australia and globally. We are lucky to have such great support and be able to draw on Bernie’s experience and knowledge to guide the development of Australia’s first dedicated CX research group blending academic rigour and commercial acumen.”