Velocity Preview: 30 years of creating competitive, compelling, trusted private brands.

    Velocity: The My Private Brand Conference, the private brand event of the year, is September 17-19, 2018 at the Kimpton Hotel in Charlotte, NC.

    Don’t miss John Clague, former head of Quality and Compliance, private and exclusive brands, at both Waitrose and Asda in the UK when he presents: The Innovation & Differentiation Opportunity.


    John Clague is an experienced Compliance and Senior Retail Technical Manager with over 30 years in the retail food industry, holding a number of senior roles within both Asda and Waitrose, the food retail arm of the John Lewis Partnership. In these roles, his prime focus was in developing retail quality and compliance strategies, intercompany processes and global food safety standards and to innovate to meet demanding short-term and long-term goals. John’s success in his roles involved building strong external strategic relationships with key supply chain partners.

    Career highlights.

    • Pioneered third-party supply chain audits with Private Label suppliers which became the BRC (British Retail Consortium) Global Food Safety audit and laterally internationally recognized with other standards through the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI).
    • Played a pivotal role between a UK retailer (Asda) and a US retailer (Walmart) in ensuring a smooth transition of all brand and product due diligence processes including the technical product life cycle portal.
    • Led Asda to be the first retailer in the world to introduce a truly integrated web-enabled due diligence system fully integrated with suppliers.
    • Transformed Waitrose technical compliance systems, and implemented responsible sourcing strategies delivering fully sustainable supply chains in palm oil and soya.
    • Implemented Quality and Compliance across the international business to business activity between Waitrose and buying teams across the globe including Dubai and China.

    Creating competitive, compelling, trusted private brands.

    John Clague was a UK pioneer in boosting retailer-supplier collaboration around private and exclusive brands. In separate stints at large chains Waitrose and Asda, he developed a clear vision of what good looks like in trading partner engagement and then oversaw practical steps that achieved major retail successes.

    He accomplished all of this just as the UK was boosting labeling regulations to ensure the highest standards of quality, consistency, compliance, and transparency in the food retail sector.

    John will outline how success was achieved in a part of the world where private brands have far greater share than in the U.S. He will explain what good looks like in trading partner engagement, why this translates well to the U.S. market, and how U.S. retailers can move forward rather quickly with practical steps. He will also relay how good can eventually lead to great.


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    Christopher Durham
    Christopher Durham is the president of My Private Brand and the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, consultant and retailer who built brands at Delhaize-owned Food Lion, and lead strategy and brand development for Lowe’s Home Improvement. He has consulted with retailers around the world on their private brand portfolios including: Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro (Canada), TLW (Taiwan) and Hola (Taiwan). Durham has published five definitive books on private brands, including his first book, Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. In 2017, he will debut his newest book, Vanguard: Vintage Originals, a visual tour of innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s. Dynamic in his presentation while down to earth and frank in his opinions, he has presented at numerous conferences, including FUSE, The Dieline Conference, Packaging that Sells, Omnishopper and PLMA’a annual trade show in Chicago. Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Laraine, and two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.