From a police officer to a COO, Nicola tells us about her varied career – and says older workers should remember everything they have to offer.
In 2020, when Nicola Frampton was in her mid-50s, she realised she was about to make herself redundant from her senior role at an international gambling company.
At the time, Nicola was the managing director for William Hill’s UK retail business – she was responsible for around 2,300 shops and 12,000 people. But the Covid pandemic had sped up a trend where customers were moving online. Nicola could see that the company’s online and retail arms had to merge – and this process would erase her role.
“I’m going to be out of work and I’m going to be 55,” she recalls thinking. “I did genuinely think: ‘Who’s going to want me?’ ”
Nicola steadied herself and remembered everything she had to offer an employer. She soon landed a senior role at Domino’s Pizza and is now their COO for the UK and Ireland. Alongside this full-time role, she is also a non-executive director at Frasers’ Group, a conglomerate that owns companies such as Sports Direct and Jack Wills.
Nicola purposefully chose a slightly slower phase for her career in her late 30s, when her son was young, but now she has a lot of energy and ambition for her work again. She and her husband sometimes discuss if and when she will retire, but it feels a long way off. “I think I will [stop working] when I stop enjoying what I’m doing…I love working,” she says.
Nicola grew up in a working-class family in Bradford and left school at 16 – her family needed her to get a job as soon as she could. In 1984, she joined the police, where she found the work fulfilling but hard-going. She often had to deal with child abuse and rape cases that required a female officer.
After two years she joined Bradford & Bingley, a building society, in their mortgage fraud department. Her manager fostered her talents and encouraged her to do some professional qualifications, which allowed her to move into the internal auditing team. The qualifications also helped her overcome her self-consciousness about not having a university degree.
After a decade at Bradford & Bingley, Nicola became interested in consultancy work and some time later she joined Deloitte. She went from understanding one business in great depth, to seeing the common issues that beset many businesses.
“I found myself working across a massive breadth of industries [and] sectors – chemical manufacturers, the NHS, airport safety, retail,” she says. “And I think what I learned from that was how all these businesses were all coping with the same sort of problems. And how transferable your skills are across industries.”
During this time, Nicola had her son and worked part-time for some years. She then went back to doing senior in-house roles at companies, joining William Hill in 2010 and then landing her current role at Domino’s Pizza.
Nicola encourages older workers to remember all the things that they have to offer to an employer. “I would say don’t worry about your age – don’t let it be a thing,” she says.
“There’s an experience and insights that only time can give you, that can’t be taught,” she adds. “Make sure that comes across [in job interviews] – the maturity, the experience, the calmness. I’ve been through so much change and I’ve always been able to embrace it.”
Nicola says these qualities are particularly useful in her non-executive director role, where she can draw on her years of experience to offer guidance. In addition, having age diversity in meetings helps teams to do more interesting and innovative work.
Above all, she is excited about continuing with her career, which has taken her from a working-class background in Bradford to the top of well-known companies. “I’m really grateful and I want to carry on as long as I can,” she says.