A Great Place to Work

Steve Westgarth
4 min readJan 6, 2022

January 2022 brings with it mixed emotions for me as I prepare to leave my role as Head of Engineering at Boots and move onto pastures new (more on that very soon). Over Christmas I’ve been contemplating the experience I’ve gained at Boots and how much I’ve enjoyed working within the organisation over the last 3 years.

I very much saw joining Boots as a career defining moment and I will be forever greatful to Joe Elevathingal and Sarah Marsh for bringing me to the organisation — the opportunity to work with one of the UKs most loved brands was, and has been an absolute privilege and I know I will look back on as a highlight of my career. If you stop and think for a moment, how many people get to work with an organisation that literally touches the lives of millions of people everyday?

Over the last 3 years I have had the privilege of helping the organisation to change in ways that simply were not even imaginable when I joined. As a retailer we need to respond to the needs of our customer ever more quickly in order to stay ahead of the competition. I’ve helped Boots to embrace a more agile mindset, setting our teams up for greater success by developing SAFe agile release trains and forming cross functional delivery squads that are moving towards a CI/CD mindset based around a modern cloud native technology stack.

From an Engineering perspective it is fair to say that Boots still has a long way to go to achieve its ambition of being a truly modern engineering organisation but the passion and enthusiasm of the people within the organisation to change and adopt new ways of working really is infectious.

Choosing the company that you want to work for is a very difficult decision; for me its important that the organisation I work for is making a difference. During the pandemic I have unwittingly found myself on the front line of the UK’s response supporting our stores, team members, patients and customers in ways that I would never have imagined. The community spirit within Boots is palpable and the joy of being part of a team who truly want to impact peoples lives in a positive way has driven me to realise how privileged I am to have been able to support this amazing organisation.

There have been so many achievements during my tenure at Boots, almost to many to mention. For me the launch of Adobe AEM which now serves the Homepage, Brand, Article and Category pages is probably the greatest success and technical accomplishment; we cannot however diminish some of the other great success stories such as launch of Algolia search, replacement of our customer identity and access management solution and where would we be without our cloud native customer engagement platform that is rapidly becoming the future for Boots.com.

Each of these achievements, and many others have been made possible due to the passion and enthusiasm of the people that work at Boots. It is the people that make Boots an amazing place to work and the people that have enabled all of these phenomenal success stories that I have been proud to be a part of. I have never worked within a more dedicated and inspiring team and for that I thank all the colleagues that I have worked with for giving me a reason to want to come to work each day.

While I can’t name everyone at Boots that I am going to miss dearly I do need to give a special shout out to all of my direct reports — during the last 3 years you have helped me to grow as a leader and I hope I have provided opportunities for you to also grow, learn and develop your own careers — it has been a pleasure managing each and every one of you and I really hope that we have the opportunity to work together again in the future.

Leaving Boots has been a big decision for me; I am focussed on developing my own career and the opportunity to have an impact within an organisation on a more global scale is simply to good to turn down. I can honestly say I have loved every moment of working for Boots and I wish the organisation every success in the future — it would be an honour if our paths did cross again; for the right opportunity I wouldn’t hesitate to return.



Steve Westgarth

Steve 🏳️‍🌈 is the Global Head of Engineering at Haleon where he heads up the Software Engineering function.