Colin Rees has joined Franchise Brands as its CIO following successful careers at retailer Domino Pizza and airline easyJet, as he discussed in a recent Horizon podcast.
Franchise Brands is the business behind a series of service companies including ChipsAway car repairs, Ovenclean (as the name suggests), Barking Mad dog care and MyHome an online estate agency business
Stephen Hemsley, Executive Chairman of Franchise Brands, said: “I have greatly enjoyed working with him in his role as Director of IT at Domino’s Pizza. With the forthcoming completion of the acquisition of Metro Rod Limited, Franchise Brand’s information and IT requirements will be of central importance to the Group and Rees will become a key member of our commercial team, helping to drive efficiency and synergies across the enlarged Group through enhanced and common operating, management information and workflow systems.”
Rees spent seven years with Domino Pizza an organisation he joined in September 2010 following a decade in Luton with the pioneering airline easyJet. At easyJet and throughout his career Rees has worked closely with marketing leaders and had a steadfast focus on making business technology simple.
“Simplicity is hard work, it is easy to add features,” Rees recently told this scribe in a Horizon podcast. “The effort and thought we put in to make our systems simple, it is much harder to take features away and you see that on the easyJet website.”
Franchise Brands executive chairman Stephen Hemsley is also chairman of Domino Pizza in the UK, a role he has held since 1998.
Domino Pizza is a franchise business itself with the high street retail units being operated by franchise owners, whilst Domino Pizza provides a series of essential services ranging from the raw products such as dough and toppings to the pizzas through to the technology services. During his tenure at Domino Pizza Rees was honed his skills at delivering innovation and service to the franchise operators who did not have to buy their technology services from CIO Rees. “Our job is to help the franchisee before it becomes a pain point,” he told me last year.
“We have regular franchise forums. There are eight in total, all of different sizes so the forums ensure we take them on the journey. So we report back to them and tell them what we are doing and remind them of the uptime reliability. They are not shy to call us and offer advice or to tell us about other technology they have seen,” Rees told Horizon of working in a franchise business model and the unique pressures it places on a CIO.
Rees left the CIO role at Domino Pizza at the beginning of 2017 and the retailer is still seeking a business technology leader. His peer Andy Caddy has also recently left fitness firm Virgin Active with former Royal Mail technology leader Phil Leitch taking on the role.