So Wat had a decision to make. Speaking at the Credit Suisse Asian Investment Conference in Hong Kong, the newly-appointed CEO of Yum China described the opportunity of becoming Savers’ managing director as “scary”, but admitted that there were two aspects that helped her decide: how much of a learning process it would be, and how many jobs were at stake.
“If the business cannot turn around, there’s a high chance that a few thousand people might lose their jobs. So if I give it a go, if it didn’t work, we still would have the same result. If it worked, then we might save a few thousand people.”
As Wat explained, a “significant portion” of the U.K. discount health and beauty chain’s stores weren’t making enough money. However, fast forward to the present day, and Savers has more than 400 stores across the U.K., with over 3,000 people employed. And Wat was seen as a big part of the turnaround success.
“Of course the downside of (it is) my career could be impacted, but that’s the moment that I thought — ‘It’s time to do the right thing’. Sometimes the right thing, is not the easy path.”