Keith Smith

Keith Smith

Work History

Work History
Jun 2006 - May 2009

Managing Director

OBI Ukraine

1 Took over a small project team of 5 people and grew organisation to 80 in Head office. An organisation capable of opening 5 stores a year.

2 Devised and presented initial strategy for market expansion which was accepted by German Board.

3 Recruited Board of OBI Ukraine: Finance Director. Purchasing Director, Sales Director, Head of Marketing, Head of HR, Head of Real estate.

4 Agreed budgets and development plans with HO in Germany.

5 Developed way of working with our Joint venture partner in Ukraine: Gennady Bogalubov and Privat Group, and had all plans and investments agreed by them.

5 Developed expansion strategy with key cities identified and personally headed up search for land plots and projects.

6 Led project to develop new store format for Ukraine and Russia with more of a building and construction presence than usual in OBI.

7 Defined assortment strategy, purchasing policies and procedures.

8 Defined format and adapted this for different sized cities.

9 Opened 3 stores between October 2008 and February 2009 in Kharkov, Mariupol and Odessa. Standard format of 11,000 sqm sales area budgeted at 30m Euro sales.

Due to financial crisis OBI decided in May 2009 to run Ukraine from Moscow and they downsized the Kiev office from 90 to 35 people.

2004 - 2006

Operations Director, Castorama Russia


1 Internal promotion in Kingfisher from B&Q to Castorama as part of set up project team in Russia.

2 Recruited Head office central operations team and store managers for the first three stores.

3 Devised and implemented strategy for Operations Dept and stores.

4 Determined deployment model for stores, established rules and procedures, defined stock management processes, health and safety requirements.

5 Worked closely with Commercial and Real Estate teams to define store formats, assortment policy, marketing mix.

6 Led local IT project. Liaison between Russia stakeholders and central IT team in Lille, France.

7 Opened stores in Samara, St Pete’s before OBI asked me to become GD in Ukraine.

1999 - 2004

Regional manager


B&Q is market leader in the DIY segment in the UK and one of the most successful retailers in recent UK history (

1 Ran a region of 12-15 stores with total retail space of 60,000 sqm and annual sales of over 150m Euros.

2 Recognised at the 2003 national conference for having the best year on year sales increase(23%) and lowest shrinkage (0.7%) in the Company.

3 Chosen to work on Head Office project team in 2003 aimed at improving service in stores and streamlining tasks, administration and bureaucracy.

1994 - 1999

Director of Operations International Pubs

Allied Domecq

Promoted from UK pub business to head up international rollout of pub concepts

Developed combination of direct managed, franchise and joint venture relationships.

Sat on Board of Allied Domecq Retailing International and liaised closely with colleagues in Dunkin Donuts/Baskin Robbins.

Grew existing chain from 6 to over 50 pubs in 4 years. Development focused in Eastern Europe, Scandinavia, Holland, France. Grew turnover from £300k to £5m.

Selected, managed and developed the team to do that, including marketing, finance.

Headed up beer export business to Scandinavia, Germany, Italy and developed new markets in Eastern Europe

Recommended and headed up sale of business to Charles Wells Brewery for £10m in 1999 following Allied’s withdrawal from UK pub market.

1987 - 1994

Trade Director

Allied Domecq, Joshua Tetley, Leeds

Managed high performing teams of Area managers to deliver quality services to external customers and, in the tenanted business, self employed business partners.

Part of team that devised and rolled out Retail Partnership, a revolutionary way of bringing entrepreneurship into the Managed Sector.

Reviewed and redesigned to role of the Tenancy Area manager reshaping it as Business Development manager and seeing through the desired cultural change.

1984 - 1987

Area Manager

Joshua Tetley, Leeds

Responsible for regions of 150 pubs, £30m sales, £6m profit


1974 - 1977

Lancaster University
1967 - 1974

Firth Park Grammar, Sheffield



General Management

Industry Experience: Big-box DIY retailing; Pub and restaurant chains; Electronics retailing.   Functional Experience: General Management; Strategic Planning; Project management; Sales and Operations Management; Talent acquisition and development; New market entry planning and execution; Franchise Management   Career Profile: Experienced and enthusiastic retail executive with 25 years experience in a variety of retail sectors and from shopfloor to boardroom. A natural leader who loves to take charge of situations and inspire those around him thus encouraging their own development. Comfortable to be both at the heart of the planning process and checking implementation at the front line. Able to effectively see the links from the centre to shopfloor and to cut to the heart of the issues through an inquisitive style. Goal orientated, outcome focused and competitive. Collaborative management style, though flexible and able to take quick and tough decisions. 5 years experience in Russia/Ukrainian retailing. Good Russian language skills.   Achievements: 1 Headed up a DIY retailer market entry into Ukraine from zero to a fully functioning Head office of 100 people and the first 3 stores. 2 Grew the Operations team of a DIY retailer entering Russia from zero to an all Russian team of 10 and the first 2 stores. 3 Grew an international pub network from 6 to over 50 units before arranging the sale of the chain due to a shift in parent company strategy.  


I have over 25 years retail experience in electronics, hospitality and DIY retailing, both in the UK and international. I'm currently looking for a new challenge in emerging markets after having successfully led market entries in Russia and Ukraine.


Out of work enjoy distance running and keeping fit. Completed two London Marathons. Siberia Ice marathon 2005. Zelenograd Half Marathon, Moscow Oblast 2005.