Proptech and destination marketing leader Toolbox Group has appointed two new managing directors as part of a restructuring to position the company for a post-Covid world.
Toolbox Marketing and Mallcomm founder and CEO Michelle Buxton will retain strategic oversight as group CEO while David Fuller-Watts and Chloe Keith will become managing directors of the Mallcomm and Toolbox Marketing divisions, respectively. The changes will take effect from 1 January 2021.
Michelle Buxton explained: “The business has grown at such a pace that now is the right time for David and Chloe to take the business forward with a different management style.” As CEO, Buxton will focus on the strategic direction of the company, with particular responsibility for ESG policies, fundraising and movement into new territories. “I’m looking forward to it – it’s come at exactly the right time, especially with significant interest in new territories,” she said.
David Fuller-Watts has been with the business for 13 years and was instrumental in launching the Mallcomm tenant engagement app as well as driving its growth to its current market-leading position, which has seen it win awards around the globe. Mallcomm is used by the operators of some of the world’s biggest property companies, including Unibail Rodamco Westfield, British Land and Oxford Properties, to communicate instantly with tenants and shoppers.
As managing director, Fuller-Watts will be responsible for driving expansion and product development. “I’ll be making sure we continue to scale up and ensuring the product can meet the needs of a changing market,” he said. Fuller-Watts believes the pandemic has accelerated the adoption of technology by the notoriously conservative real estate industry.
“It’s meaning companies are looking for digital solutions,” he said. “Our customers have new pressures and we recognise that they need new solutions and new ways of managing both onsite and remotely.”
At the same time Chloe Keith will take over the reins at Toolbox Marketing. She has been with the business for nine years, devising and implementing marketing campaigns for shopping centres across the UK and Europe. Again, she believes Covid-19 has brought about irreversible changes in the landscape for retail destinations. “Our biggest challenge going forward is going to be online shopping,” she said.
With local shopping centres outperforming regional malls and city centres with a focus on needs-based rather than wants-based shopping, she believes convenience and community are going to be the two key attributes of successful destinations going forward. “You have to remember that shopping used to be a hobby for many, but now it has become practical. The challenge is to provide that experience in a very different world. We will be helping to position our clients at the heart of their communities and knitting them into the day-to-day lives of their shoppers,” she concluded.