The boss of THG says that he would not recommend the experience of running a listed business to anyone.

However Matt Moulding says that joining the London Stock Exchange has “added fuel to our insatiable fighting spirit” and “been a decent test of our startup mentality”.

In 2020 the Manchester-headquartered eCommerce giant floated on the stock market to much fanfare at a share price of 500p and embarked on a strategy of aggressive acquisition.

However Moulding began to receive criticism from investors and the media alike over the fact that he operated as both CEO and executive chair. He was also criticised for holding a ‘golden share’ which potentially allowed him to block a hostile takeover.

Things reached a nadir in 2021 when THG held a capital markets day, which turned into a PR and financial disaster and the company’s share price bombed. Not even the fact that Moulding gave up his ‘special share’ rights and beefed up the corporate governance could stem the flood of negative stories.

Today its share price stands at 69.50p.

Moulding bids farewell to the ‘stiff upper lip’ and fights back

“I invest a lot of energy in maintaining humility across the senior team at THG. An essential way we do this is by maintaining a ‘startup mentality’. Irrespective of how big THG is, we still run it like we’re in our first year. It’s THG against the world,” Moulding wrote on LinkedIn.

“I was worried listing THG in London would dim our startup mentality. I couldn’t have been further wrong. The way we’ve been treated since joining the LSE has done nothing but add fuel to our insatiable fighting spirit. 

“It’s certainly not an experience I’d recommend to anyone, but it’s been a decent test of our startup mentality.” 

Each year the company recruits hundreds of young people straight out of education, he says, which requires leaders to help get the best from them.

“We give people real responsibility at THG. The learnings are intense, burnout is a risk, but the opportunity is massive. Our Academy is essential for us to develop future leaders and guide people through the challenges,” he explained.

“I’m often asked what it takes to be a leader at THG. There’s no simple answer. But there are some essential qualities that everyone must have. One requirement is humility. Too many people change as their careers progress. Egos grow and self-appreciation spirals out of control. 

“Confidence is a great quality, but arrogance is ugly, especially to team members. The world has an ample supply of these people. Humility in leaders is a rare quality.

“The best leaders at THG are those who surround themselves with people better than them in every job. I love these leaders. The ones who know the team will be just fine if they don’t turn up tomorrow, or next week.”

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