John Batistich sets sights on charities, start-ups and ‘the book’ following Westfield departure

Westfield's adoption of digital one of Batistich's legacy's

Westfield’s adoption of digital one of Batistich’s legacy’s

Departing Scentre chief marketing officer John Batistich will turn his hand to running a charity, assisting start-ups and completing a business book after he steps down from the job after close to a decade.

Speaking with Mumbrella, Batistich said he was proud of all that he accomplished, moving Westfield Shopping Centres into the digital era and fundamentally changing the shopping experience.

Last week, Scentre, which operates Westfield, announced the CMO was stepping down.

Batistich said that during his time at Scentre – which saw the rise of digital as both a threat to traditional retail channels and an enabler – there was no one single biggest challenge but rather a string of them related to how the company operated and in getting staff to buy in to Batistich’s vision of what the centres could be.

“There are always challenges that are organisational,” Batistich said.

“It’s really around, I believe, organising and aligning the organisation to an ambitious plan around improving the customer experience.

“Engagement and taking others with you is always the biggest challenge for many leaders.”

He said the time was right to step down and pass the baton to the next generation.

“I love the company and love the people, but to be honest with you, I wanted to do some different things,” Batistich said.

“My legacy starts with the leadership you leave behind – the people capability that you’ve developed, and I’m proud to say that we have got a great bench of leaders.”

Batistich said one of the highlights of his time at Westfield was bringing in Quantium, a data analytics company employed to help the business define the best retail mix and what that mix should look like.

The 2013 release of the ‘Searchable Mall’ also delivered big results for the company and its leaseholders.

“In its first 12 months that platform generated $269m worth of sales influence in our malls. I also sponsored the largest wifi network for retail in Australia, which was an important services, but it was also an important location analytics platform.”

Westfield also recently launched its first programmatic and first personalised content.

Batistich said he was proud of his support for innovator and accelerator programs.

“What I’m going to do is, first of all, take a break. That is priority one. Priority two is I’m going to volunteer for my charity, the Heart Research Institute. I’m also writing a business book, I’m a third of the way through and I promised myself I would finish that; and I’ve also asked to be on the advisory board of two start-ups.”


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