Signature Gifts appoints former Photobox senior as new COO

Besnard: "This opportunity really stood out for me"
Besnard: "This opportunity really stood out for me"

Personalised gift supplier and manufacturer Signature Gifts has landed a major coup with the appointment of Photobox’s former group chief manufacturing officer as its new chief operating officer, as the company eyes international growth.

Renaud Besnard started in the newly created role today (25 January) and will be based at the company’s headquarters in Harpenden, Hertfordshire but will also spend time at its two plants in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire and Wigtown in Scotland.

He had previously spent more than 14 years with Photobox Group, in a number of senior roles but most recently as group chief manufacturing officer.

Signature Gifts has ambitious plans for 2021 and has made the appointment to help increase its presence outside the UK, where it has established a strong foothold as a personalised publisher within the gift market.

After deciding it wanted to appoint a chief operating officer, Signature Gifts’ chief executive Kevin Spindler enlisted the help of print industry specialised recruitment firm Harrison Scott Associates, and gave the company definitive instructions to search for candidates not just in the UK, but also in Europe.

“We already had a history with the client when first taking on the project, and knew the resources required to find the right person for Signature Gifts, however this assignment was at a whole new level,” said Harrison Scott Associates joint managing director George Thompson.

“We wanted to ensure every contact was leveraged and no stone was left unturned to help Kevin achieve his ambitious plans.”

Besnard oversaw all operational activities for Photobox Group and its e-commerce brands including Photobox, Moonpig, Greetz and PosterXXL. This included manufacturing, printing, procurement, supply chain, packaging, product innovation, shipping, and health and safety across six factories and a large network of outsourcing partners in Europe, Australia and the Americas.

Harrison Scott Associates and Spindler felt that the international scope of his previous role was the exact experience required for the opportunity at Signature Gifts.

“When I first met Kevin, I was in awe of his professionalism and ambitions, and although I was considering other companies at the time, this opportunity really stood out for me,” said Besnard.

Spindler added: “Renaud brings with him a wealth of experience highly relevant to our own and will greatly enhance our operational capability. This will allow us to capture the opportunities presented to us as a leading online business, help drive a more aggressive growth strategy and provide a more cost effective and efficient production base.”

Signature Gifts supplies to customers including Getting Personal, Next, Prezzybox and the Shop Direct group in the UK, and Zulily, Bluestem, 1-800 Flowers and Personal Creations in the US, as well as hundreds of other retailers of varying size and stature.