Ciarán O’Reilly is CEO of Expert Ireland Retail and President of Expert International GMBH and has more than 30 years of experience in the electrical appliance industry. As CEO Ciarán has helped Expert Ireland to become the strongest retail chain and market leader in the industry by providing strategic direction to member retailers, creating store branding, and developing supplier relationships.
Take us through the journey that has led you to your current role.
I started as a sales rep in 1984 and eventually got a job as a sales rep with Electrolux Ireland starting on the 8th of the 8th 1988. I joined Expert Ireland on the 2nd of Jan 2000. I joined the board of Expert International in 2011 and was elected President later that year.
What has inspired you to be where you are today?
I enjoy meeting people in business and socially so sales was an obvious career path to take. My main source of inspiration was to provide a decent standard of living for my family (wife and four children). Joining Expert Ireland gave me the opportunity to take a company from a very small start to something I could be proud of. Working with retailers to ensure we can offer the best service available to the consumer keeps me very focused on a daily basis. Ensuring that we have a very healthy financial basis to build for the future.
What’s your biggest achievement?
Seeing my four children grow into healthy happy adults with a very decent outlook on life and their future. In business taking Expert Ireland from where it was when I joined to where it is today and hopefully providing a strong base for future growth.
"WHEN DIFFICULT TIMES ARE ON THE HORIZON YOU NEED A REALLY STRONG TEAM WITH YOU."
What is your overall philosophy for leading an organization?
Be very open to delegate and trust people to do a good job but offer support if needed. We are in a results business so once the result is on point all other aspects of the business should be enjoyable if possible. I am very strong in making sure we reward everyone from the bottom to the top and ensuring that all people feel respected.
What is the one mistake you witness leaders making more frequently than others?
I see leaders coming into meetings with an attitude that without them nothing would be possible and I take great pleasure in pointing out to them that none of us are indispensable and great people are in the wings ready and waiting.
From a business point of view, as a CEO, what are some of the most important lessons the pandemic has taught you?
When difficult times are on the horizon you need a really strong team with you. People are the most important part of any organization when asked to go above and beyond 99% of people are prepared to go the extra mile with you. Looking after consumers in difficult times is really rewarding and consumers respect great service even if they don’t tell you. It is so important to have a very solid base to fall back on when trouble comes to the door.
What’s your ultimate goal as CEO for the Expert Ireland future?
To focus on the next generation of Independent Retailer in Ireland. To develop an omnichannel proposition to offer our consumers the best possible options when shopping with us and to make sure I have a very healthy happy company to hand over to my successor whenever that arises.