Beyond Twenty Announces New CEO

Innovation | 02 October 2017
Keeley L Walkerby Keeley L Walker

Beyond Twenty is delighted to welcome Clive Millington as its incoming CEO.

Millington, formerly the COO of TomTom, will succeed the company’s Founder, Kaveh Memari, who stands down after four years as CEO on October 2nd, 2017.

Having served at TomTom for twelve years, Millington will bring his wealth of experience in navigating the growth and development of a category-defining enterprise in the lead up to the launch of our first product, AYR.

“There are obvious similarities between what TomTom did back in 2005 and what Beyond Twenty are trying to do now,” he tells me. “There are significant differences as well but what I see in the vaping market is it’s very fragmented, there isn’t a dominant player, it’s crying out for someone to come out with a proper solution that works and works well and delivers on promise and overcomes many of the shortcomings of products that are out there at the moment. That was very much the case with sat navs as well.”

So what will the new CEO’s first steps look like? It seems he is planning a multi -pronged strategy. Upon joining, Millington will turn his immediate attention to ironing out any remaining creases in the product itself. “I think [the strategy] is quite straightforward,” he explains, “The first thing is you’ve got to get the product working, which, in itself, is a challenge. It’s technically a very complex product and when you’re dealing with end users, who aren’t particularly kind to products, and you are dealing with solid-state electronics and fluids and temperature and batteries, there is a lot of complexity in a product like that. And it has to work. Working on a bench is one thing but when you make hundreds of thousands or millions of them, it has to work every time. So I think getting the product to a level of quality and performance is the first priority.”

One area in which Millington’s expertise is sure to prove priceless, is that which he refers to as the ‘operational piece’. He describes this task as ‘the number of retail distribution points and online points you are going to have to distribute to and the mix in terms of the different SKUs. This introduces a lot of complexity.”

With all the above in order, the next stage in Millington’s strategy is “market reaction.” He says: “We think we’ve produced this lovely product that we’re in love with but, of course, we are going to find out that there will be things that we thought people weren’t going to like that they are going to really like and there are going to be things that we thought people were going to love that they are going to hate and we are going to have to learn and adapt and make modifications to the product to improve it. So having a really good feedback mechanism from the market to bring that information back, distill it and make sure we focus on the really important things and build those improvements into future generations of the product is a critical process.”

This, again, is not foreign to Millington: “At TomTom I think I was involved in ten generations of sat navs. One a year for ten years. That was the kind of tempo. And every year they got better. That’s the benefit of technology driving the agenda but also, the customer driving the agenda too – that marriage of technological capability and customer insight is what takes products from being good to great. So that’s an essential stage.”

The final stage Millington outlines is by far the most exciting. “The next stage,” he says, “which is kind of a pleasure stage, is we start building a business and a road map and a sustainable entity. And we have fuel then because we are generating cash. For me, when we get to that point, and we start to be cash positive as a business, then we really can rock and roll. It’s time to have some fun.”

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