IKEA UK & Ireland announced today that Gillian Drakeford, currently the IKEA Group’s retail country manager in China, has been appointed as the country manager for IKEA UK and Ireland, with effect from 1st August.

Gillian takes over from Carole Reddish, who is set to take her next steps within the IKEA Group and will become the country manager for Norway, with effect from 1st September.

Carole has worked for the IKEA Group for 14 years and has been the acting IKEA UK & Ireland country manager for the last 18 months. Under her leadership, significant investments have been made to the customer shopping experience including enhancing the online shopping offer and the introduction of new in-store Pick and Delivery and Furniture Take Back services to make it easier for customers to shop at IKEA. Over this period, IKEA’s position as leader in the UK market was also strengthened, with its market share growing by 0.4% to 6.8%.

Jeanette S?derberg, region retail manager, North Central Europe, says: “I would like to thank Carole for carrying through the assignment as acting country manager in the UK and Ireland with a dedicated heart and mind, strong common sense, thorough way of working and clear leadership. I am also happy to welcome Gillian to the UK and Ireland. Her personal capabilities, experience and energising leadership will be of great support in delivering the UK and Ireland’s strong business agenda.”

Gillian began her IKEA career in 1987 and formed part of the management team that opened the company’s first UK-based store in Warrington. Her later assignments within the IKEA Group included working for the IKEA Birmingham store, before moving to the external franchise organisation in Hong Kong. For the past 10 years Gillian has been working for IKEA in China, where she started as the store project manager for the flagship store in Beijing, which annually receives the highest number of IKEA visitors in the world.

Since 2008, Gillian has held the position of retail country manager for China. During her time in this role she has successfully grown the organisation from six to 11 stores between 2008 and 2013, with four stores planned to open within the next calendar year.