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5 Questions with Red McKay

Profiling the brilliant minds behind Bossa Nova.

Welcome to 5 Questions: a new series profiling the brilliant minds behind Bossa Nova. Join us as our global leaders in retail, technology, and business discuss their professional journey, what it's like to work at the leading retail data company, and everything in between!

This week, meet our European Managing Director, Red McKay.

With almost 20 years working in global retail business development and supply chain roles for international household names, Red combines his retail industry experience with his understanding of transformative robotics technology to bring autonomous robot and real-time data services to retailers worldwide.

Red’s unique perspective on the challenges retailers are facing in an increasingly data-driven and competitive age has quickly made waves in the UK and Europe. As a regular guest on political steering groups and industry advisory boards, Red is also incredibly passionate about the positive impact technology and innovation can have on local communities, schools and higher education opportunities. Born and bred in Sheffield, Red is also ex-British Army.

Red, you’ve been working in retail for over a decade – how did you enter the industry, and what type of roles and experience have you had over this time?

I came into retail after leaving a career in the Army in 2000. One of the world’s largest retailers was employing temporary staff to integrate systems following an acquisition. I started as a minimum wage temp, and over the years became a buyer and worked on a number of key projects within the international business. After leaving that business, I went to work as a Management Consultant on a wide range of retail projects. I had a couple of very enjoyable and fulfilling years working in supply chain with The Egremont Group, who had an excellent reputation of knowledge, insight, and delivery in the consultancy field. My last role was as an Operations Director for six years before I had the exciting opportunity to work with the leading retail data service provider that is Bossa Nova Robotics.

Why did you choose Sheffield as Bossa Nova’s first office to service Europe?

Easy question. Sheffield has word-class talent, two universities with the highest excellence in robotics and great quality of life. It’s a fantastic place to live and work.

What do you anticipate as the next big thing in tech?

Human and animal bionics meshed with AI to improve mechanical and neurological function - something that could be groundbreaking and shape the future of medicine/human function and capability. I’m excited about the possibilities new technologies are creating.  

What gets you out of bed in the morning?

Enough sleep and the chance to achieve something of value.

What did you want to be when you were growing up?

I wanted to be in The SAS (Special Air Service) simply due to the fact that they are the best at what they do and are respected worldwide. The SAS is a special forces unit of the British Army. The unit undertakes a number of roles including covert reconnaissance, counter-terrorism, direct action and hostage rescue.  I particularly liked the fact that they were effective outside of the gaze of the public and media.

Bonus Question: What is the one item you purchase every week at the supermarket?

Yorkshire Tea. It’s a staple part of the diet up in the north, or as a true yorkshireman would say…"up t’north".

If you enjoyed reading this new series, let us know on our Twitter using the hashtag #5Questions. Check back here for our next guest!

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