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Ian Watson

Chief Executive Officer

Hotter Shoes

London, UK

Ian Watson
Marcus Watson
Adoreum Partners
Bertie Way
Salamanca Group

Ian’s Biography

Ian Watson is the visionary CEO and driving force behind one of the UK’s most successful shoe brands, Hotter Shoes.

As the UK’s largest specialist footwear brand, Hotter Shoes sells over 1,000,000 pairs of shoes every year to more than 4,000,000 customers around the world. Ian is credited with having accelerated the company’s digital growth, and Hotter Shoes is now seen as a major player in the e-commerce space.

By re-positioning Hotter Shoes as a digitally-led, direct to consumer e-commerce platform, Ian has successfully navigated both the Covid-19 pandemic and the downturn in the traditional bricks and mortar retail environment, helping to ensure the brand’s longevity, growth and investment opportunities.

Since leaving school at 16, Ian has earned the respect of his peers as an astute, engaging and charismatic business leader. He began his career at Shipley Ronal, a speciality chemical supplier, before moving to Irwin Industrial Tools in Germany. It was here that he honed his skills in international strategic management and progressed to the role of Vice President Europe...
Ian Watson is the visionary CEO and driving force behind one of the UK’s most successful shoe brands, Hotter Shoes.

As the UK’s largest specialist footwear brand, Hotter Shoes sells over 1,000,000 pairs of shoes every year to more than 4,000,000 customers around the world. Ian is credited with having accelerated the company’s digital growth, and Hotter Shoes is now seen as a major player in the e-commerce space.

By re-positioning Hotter Shoes as a digitally-led, direct to consumer e-commerce platform, Ian has successfully navigated both the Covid-19 pandemic and the downturn in the traditional bricks and mortar retail environment, helping to ensure the brand’s longevity, growth and investment opportunities.

Since leaving school at 16, Ian has earned the respect of his peers as an astute, engaging and charismatic business leader. He began his career at Shipley Ronal, a speciality chemical supplier, before moving to Irwin Industrial Tools in Germany. It was here that he honed his skills in international strategic management and progressed to the role of Vice President Europe / Asia Pacific.

As European Managing Director of Britax Childcare, Ian was part of the management team that prepared the company for its successful sale to Nordic Capital for £446M in 2011. Ian was pivotal in strategic changes leading up to the sale and oversaw an 80% increase in profitability.

Building on his experience of the youth market, Ian became CEO of Start-Rite Shoes, the first to be appointed from outside the family. Under his successful leadership, he steered the company away from the high street and focused on developing the e-commerce side of the business, helping it to become less dependent on its wholesale arm and equipped to deal directly with consumers.

Ian is a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Pattenmakers, Governor at the Norwich University of Art and was a Non-Executive Director of Global Chair Components Ltd.
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Ian’s Newsfeed

Business Live
Christmas revenue rise for Hotter Shoes despite supply chain and Omicron disruption

Ian Watson, CEO of Hotter Shoes, will lead Unbound Group PLC when the company is admitted to AIM.

The Sunday Times
Electra trust slips into comfier shoes

CEO of Hotter Shoes, Ian Watson, will head up Unbound when it lists on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) later this month.

View News Archive

Ian’s Background

Hotter Shoes
Chief Executive Officer
Mar 2019 - Present
Skelmersdale, UK
Hotter Shoes (Hotter.com) is the largest footwear manufacturer in the United Kingdom. The company sells over a million pairs of shoes a year and have been manufacturing specialist footwear that combines both style and comfort since 1959.
Start-Rite Shoes Ltd
Chief Executive Officer
Feb 2016 - Jan 2019
Norwich, UK
Start-Rite Shoes Ltd is a family-run company based in the UK that specialises in making comfortable children’s shoes that meet both a child’s lifestyle and developmental needs.
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Ian’s Gallery

Current Board Positions

Norwich University of the Arts
Governor
Norwich, UK
Norwich University of the Arts is a UK university that specialises in further education in design, art and media.

Previous Board Positions

Global Chair Components Limited
Non-Executive Director
Nov 2017 - Mar 2020
Reydon, UK
Global Chair Components Ltd is a leading chair components and contract furniture supplier in the UK.

Memberships

Worshipful Company of Pattenmakers
Liveryman
London, UK
The Worshipful Company of Pattenmakers is a Livery Company in the City of London that was granted its Royal Charter in 1670. It was founded in 1379 as a trade association for patten makers. Pattens were an early form of outdoor shoe, usually made from wood and leather.

Awards & Endorsements

Drapers Footwear Awards 2021
Best Online Operation of the Year

Ian’s Education

Financial Times | Board Director Programme
Non-Executive Director Post Graduate Diploma
2011 - 2012
Chartered Institute of Marketing
Post-Graduate Diploma in Marketing
1999 - 2000
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