News | Edra/Ghin general secretary


Congratulations go out to John Herbert from around the world on his 80th birthday

John Herbert is one of the influential personalities of the international home improvement industry.

John Herbert is one of the influential personalities of the international home improvement industry.

Congratulations to John Herbert, literally from all over the world: the general secretary of the international DIY trade association Edra/Ghin celebrated his 80th birthday yesterday, Sunday 18 April 2021. Due to the pandemic, he moved the planned celebration to the Internet without further ado.  Well-wishers especially praised his human attentiveness, his modest demeanour and, not least, his British sense of humour - qualities which support his, according to many, probably greatest talent: bringing people together and establishing networks.

John Herbert is one of the influential personalities of the international home improvement industry. The foundation of Edra in the year 2004 stems from his initiative: the European DIY Retail Association, which he has since led as general secretary from his office in Cologne, and which was later extended by the Global Home Improvement Network.

In this function he has had the opportunity to visit 53 countries with over 400 trips since he co-founded the association in 2002. He takes these opportunities to keep in contact with the 215 members of Edra/Ghin who operate more than 32 000 stores in 75 countries worldwide and generate a total annual turnover of about EUR 320 bn.

Born in York, England, John W. Herbert, began his career in retail 65 years ago, in 1956, working as a shop assistant at the York Co-op. He came to Germany in 1962 as a soldier in the British Rhine Army. In 1965 he joined the NAAFI, the military's retail organisation, which he left as district manager in 1975. John W. Herbert was then employed in the management of the first hypermarkets in Germany before returning to the UK and opening, as store director, the first Sainsbury's/British Home Store Sava Centre in Washington Tyne & Wear. The store was Britain's most modern at the time and one of the largest in Europe. In 1979 he returned to Germany and took on management positions in the Hypermarkets at Marktkauf and Continent.

In the year 1983, John Herbert entered the home improvement industry, which was not yet referred to as such at that time: he was appointed managing director of Bonn-based DIY retail chain Carl Knauber. At Knauber, John W. Herbert developed and realised a new generation of hobby, DIY and garden markets that revolutionised the industry - through innovative marketing and advertising concepts - which made the Knauber hobby market in Bonn a Mecca for DIY enthusiasts.

After 17 years at Knauber, John W. Herbert began looking for a new challenge. In 2000, at the age of 59, he was appointed President West Coast USA of the new EXPO Design Centre at the world's largest DIY group, The Home Depot. Upon his return to Germany he was elected general manager of BHB, the German Home improvement Retail Association.

John W. Herbert is a firm believer and lives out his personal credo in every respect: "Trade is the indispensable will to serve, trade is a matter of the heart." He sees this as an essential prerequisite for success in trade. Those who have had the pleasure of crossing paths with John Herbert particularly appreciate his expertise, his knowledge of human nature, his uncomplicated, open willingness to talk and, of course, his dry English humour. Unmatched is his amazing memory for names and numbers. His vast experience, his professional know-how and his human qualities make John a sought-after and valued representative and moderator for the DIY industry worldwide.

However, the lively, healthy living and sporty John W. Herbert is not yet thinking of cutting back or even quitting, according to the official press release of the association. As a world traveller in the field of DIY, he is still in "cracking form" to continue representing the interests of the industry worldwide, on the international stage with maximum and relentless energy, and to cultivate professional connections for the benefit of the Edra/Ghin members.

Taking part in the virtual birthday celebrations were also Joachim Bengelsdorf and Rainer Strnad from the trade magazines diy and DIY International. They sang a song for the birthday boy on behalf of the entire team at the Dähne Verlag publishing house: happy birthday, John - and thank you!

|19 April 2021 | 12:46


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