Executive vacancies

Date Posted
Job TitleAssociate Director - Airport & Commercial Spaces


Pragma Consulting is a highly successful, specialist retail and consumer strategy consultancy that, with more than 25 years’ experience, has established itself as the outright leader in commercial consultancy for the airport, travel & commercial spaces sector. Pragma provides the strategies that convert in-depth research, analysis and insight into improved sales and profit for its clients, who include a number of the world’s most prestigious retail brands, private equity houses and other investors in the retail sector, as well as more than 50 airports and other travel hubs around the world.

Our three divisions, and associated core propositions underpinned by world class research and customer insight capabilities, are: 

Airports, Travel, & Commercial Spaces – Provision of a range of services for airport operators or commercial space developers, including consumer insight, passenger/visitor segmentation, brand vision, space planning/design input, commercial space supportable modelling, retail mix optimisation, revenue forecasting, and commercial due diligence advisory on investment situations, all with a view to optimising commercial performance.

Retail Strategy and Operations - Utilisation of consumer insight and trading data analysis to determine future customer, range, merchandising, store location and operational strategy for retail and other consumer-facing companies.

Investor Services – Undertaking of commercial due diligence and business plan reviews, including investigation of retailer performance and market dynamics, in order to provide potential or current investors with robust advice for investment decisions.

Further Detail on the Airport, Travel and Commercial Spaces Division:

Pragma’s Airports, Travel and Commercial Spaces division is world leading, having undertaken projects with over 50 airports globally, as well as travel operators, and commercial property investors and operators in the UK, Europe and the Middle East.

We help our clients maximise their customers’ spend potential across all areas of the commercial offer.  Our client base includes a diverse mix of airport operators (e.g. Heathrow Airport, Johannesburg Airport, Mumbai, Vantage Airport Group), travel companies (e.g. Network Rail), and property developers (e.g. Al Futtaim in Dubai).

We undertake a wide range of projects including: passenger/customer insight and analysis; commercial space and revenue modelling; retail master planning and design; commercial due diligence and bid preparation; brand development and market positioning studies.

We have a global client base, and in the past two years have undertaken projects in the UK, Canada, South Africa, Denmark, Dubai, Qatar, Brazil, India, Portugal, the Maldives, and Saudi Arabia.We have a market leading proposition within the airport and commercial spaces sector, across three key areas:

  • Passenger insight:
    • Undertaking strategic passenger insight studies, to obtain information to inform commercial strategy
    • Clients include London Luton, Bristol Airport, O.R Tambo Johannesburg
  • Commercial space modelling:
    • Developing bespoke space supportable models to inform the optimum space requirements, composition, tenant mix, and configuration of new or refurbished airport terminal spaces, and shopping centre / mixed use developments.  We work either directly with airport operators, or collaboratively in teams with leading architects and retail designers, undertaking the passenger and retail analytics to inform the design and build programme
    • Clients include Heathrow Airport, Mumbai Airport, Abu Dhabi Airport, Al Futtaim (Dubai based commercial property developer)
  • Commercial due diligence:
    • Commercial due diligence advisory on airport acquisitions, where Pragma undertakes a strategic review and evaluation of the commercial revenue potential of the airport, advising operating groups and investors on the their bid programme and investment
    • Investment situations include: ANA Portugal (Lisbon, Faro, Porto); London Gatwick etc.

Pragma Culture:

Pragma is a great place to work, combining a young, enthusiastic and growing junior team with a significant amount of retail and commercial experience at more senior levels, to deliver important strategic projects at board level for clients while also ensuring personal development for all members of the team. We are currently experiencing an exciting period of expansion due to increasing demand for our products and services, and widespread recognition of the quality of our work across the industries we work in.   We are a motivated and fast growing team seeking a committed colleague to assist with delivering exceptional work for our clients and helping to grow the Pragma business.  We have a down-to-earth culture, and like to work with like-minded people, who are driven to succeed, but also recognise the importance of contributing to a friendly, team orientated, and an enjoyable working environment.In 2011 Pragma Consulting joined forces with St. Ives Group, a leading marketing services business. The resulting change in scale has provided us with the leverage to maximise the growth potential across the business, with particular focus on their Airports and Commercial Spaces Division. With funds available to invest in people and a strong pipeline of forthcoming projects, Pragma sees this as the ideal time to build capacity and expertise. With additional resource available, the business is forecast to double in size within the next 5 years.  A key component of this will be to appoint a new Associate Director into the ACS Division, to lead existing and new airport and commercial space projects around the world

We are looking for an experienced, dynamic individual, with a real enthusiasm for airport retail and space development; someone who is keen to join and help grow an increasingly important part of our business, while adding expertise and innovation to our products and services.  This is a great opportunity to be an integral part of our growing team, to influence both Pragma’s own and our clients’ future strategy, to help develop people and products, and to enjoy an exciting role in a sector which continues to expand across the globe.

The Role

Associate Directors at Pragma are key to the successful performance of the divisions and the company, playing a number of important roles, including:

  • Project and account management
  • Business development amongst new and existing clients
  • Team building and people management
  • Personal development of skills and knowledge across sectors
  • Support of Divisional Director in all aspects of divisional performance

As with all roles at Pragma, career advancement is achieved through working practices consistent with our overall defined company behaviours and objectives:

  • Team working and support of all colleagues
  • First class client service levels, delivering to the highest standard possible and exceeding expectations
  • Excellent analytical, commercial, research, and communication skills
  • Delivery of projects on time and to budget
  • A motivated and enthusiastic outlook, combined with continual skills development

Generally, the Associate Director position requires people to take responsibility for managing large and complex projects, assumes a good amount of industry knowledge, and necessitates excellent people management skills. In addition, Associate Directors must independently manage existing client accounts, and be involved in marketing to potential new contacts. While there is a strong emphasis on project fulfilment, non-project skills and tasks also play an increasingly important role in day-to-day duties. These include personal development of sales / marketing ability and capacity to manage a team effectively, combined with consideration of how to improve company processes. All the while, Associate Directors, supported by their senior colleagues, will be gaining more experience across industry sectors and types of project in order to enhance commercial awareness, specialist knowledge, and the ability to deliver over and above client requirements and expectations.

The main project management activities of Associate Directors are

  • Taking responsibility for managing medium and large projects of increasing complexity, from set-up to delivery
  • Display the ability to work across several projects at a time
  • Undertake a review role on smaller projects managed by more junior team members
  • Agree project objectives with the client where appropriate, and take responsibility for division of workstreams / deliverables amongst the team
  • Organise and run project planning and client meetings, as well as assuming full responsibility for main client contact throughout the project process
  • Responsibility for tracking progress of all workstreams within managed projects to ensure timely delivery, to budget, and accurate invoicing
  • Manage, guide, and coach junior team members on discrete tasks and smaller projects they may be managing themselves
  • Maintain regular and effective communication with senior team to ensure they are always up to date on progress across projects responsible for
  • Ensure agreed outputs are delivered on time and to specification, such that project milestones and overall timetable is adhered to for managed projects
  • Delivery / presentation of managed projects to clients at Board Room / Commercial Director level
  • Build good working relationships with clients at all levels, in order to maximise the chances of successful project delivery and potential future work

The following research & analysis skills are required:

  • Commercially aware, with a strong interest in retail, brands and consumer behaviour
  • An interest and understanding of commercial strategy in retail, airports, travel, and commercial spaces
  • Develop the timetable of research and analysis for managed projects
  • Take full responsibility for data interpretation and analysis on managed projects, to produce relevant and interesting insights, and answering the ‘so what’ question from the client point of view, to provide commercially actionable insight and recommendations
  • Oversee and direct junior team members on organising research streams, review / develop relevant research tools, and helping them on effective analysis approaches
  • Highly numerate, with good Excel skills, and modelling capability a particular advantage, in order to contribute to the development of and inputs to our proprietary commercial space planning and revenue forecast models
  • The ability to independently interview industry experts and client management teams
  • Display strong ability to recognise patterns, differences / similarities in data, and resultant logical conclusions across complex projects with several workstreams
  • Healthy contribution to solving client problems through thinking about the issues, developing hypotheses, evaluate what data is needed, how it can be analysed to prove / disprove hypotheses, and how it should be presented to form a logical argument and recommended solution
  • A motivated and enthusiastic team player, both comfortable under direction and willing to be proactive and contribute own ideas and insight
  • Ability and willingness to travel globally (note: that whilst the majority of project work is undertaken at the Pragma office in London, client visits are undertaken for research and meetings)
  • Ability and willingness to work beyond a 9-5pm day

Associate Directors are also encouraged to contribute to company and business development, including contributions to marketing materials and strategies, training programmes, client pitch presentations, and preparation of project proposals (often in response to complex RFPs issued to the ACS division).

Pragma takes a strong view that personal development is important at all levels, and supports internal and external training to enhance skills and specialist knowledge. For Associate Directors, this may take the form of, for example, conference attendance, or sales training.

The ACS Associate Director position is an exciting, challenging role, with great potential for wide-ranging experiences across clients, sectors and geographies. It provides an excellent opportunity for the right person to assume a high level of responsibility and advance their career in a dynamic work environment, supported by a strong, experienced team in this expanding, innovative company.

Contact Email

London office

Tel: +44 (0)207 917 1711

Hong Kong office

Tel: +852 2297 2883


Email: peter@harlingmenzies.com