Shop Direct hires Berson to take over strategy and customer at board level as Jones departs after seven years
July 7, 2016
Shop Direct, the UK’s second largest pureplay online retailer, has recruited Groupon’s EMEA chief marketing officer and vice president to the new executive board level role of group strategy and customer director.
Sasha Berson will join Shop Direct in September, with a remit to turbocharge the company’s progress on its journey to become a world class digital retailer by releasing the full potential of its wealth of customer data.
Berson has more than 20 years’ professional experience, including senior leadership positions in data-driven marketing and strategy. During his time at Groupon, he established regional marketing strategies across more than 20 territories. Prior to that, he was at eBay, where he ran online and mobile marketing for eBay Europe and led marketing activities in the company’s expansion into Russia, China and Latin America. Earlier in his career, he worked at Bain & Company and Credit Suisse, and holds an MBA from Harvard.
Commenting on Berson’s appointment, CEO of Shop Direct, Alex Baldock, said:
“As the UK’s second largest pureplay online retailer, we hold a deep and rich set of data on our customers’ browsing and buying habits. When combined with the financial services data that comes from being one of the country’s biggest non-bank consumer lenders, we’re in a unique position to build the world’s most personalised shopping experience.
“Sasha’s arrival marks the next step forward for us in terms of understanding the power of our data and how we invest in it to drive commercial advantage and deliver an outstanding customer experience. It’s an important hire for us and I look forward to working with him.”
Sasha Berson said:
“I am delighted to be joining Shop Direct at such an exciting time in its development. The group is leading the industry in delivering an ever more personalised shopping experience to customers, and is well on its way to achieving its ambition of becoming a world class digital retailer. I’m looking forward to being part of its next chapter.”
As well as having a specific focus on the customer agenda, Berson will also take over deputy CEO Gareth Jones’s strategy remit when he arrives at Shop Direct in September. Jones will leave the business in December after seven years.
Commenting on Jones’s departure, Alex Baldock added:
“Gareth joined Shop Direct in 2009 and his leadership has played a big part in our success.
“He led the removal of the catalogue and migration of our legacy brands last year. He’s made huge strides with innovation, from our award-winning eCommerce test and learn experimentation programme and our mobile-first approach, right through to our groundbreaking personalisation journey. He’s championed our digital talent agenda and recruited some excellent people. And he’s taken on new challenges, including the launch of Very Exclusive, shaking up the industry to democratise luxury, and managing the move to Webhelp for our customer service centres.
“Gareth has certainly made a big impact here, and will leave big shoes to fill. When it comes time to say goodbye at the end of the year, I’ll gratefully wish him every future success.”
Gareth Jones said:
“During my time at Shop Direct, I’ve been lucky enough to work with some of the best people in retail and I’m extremely proud of the business we’ve built.
“After seven years with Shop Direct, now is the right time for me to explore other opportunities and do something different for me and my family. I look forward to watching the group’s future achievements and wish Alex and the team great success for the future.”
As well as continuing to head up the strategy and customer teams at Shop Direct until Berson joins in September, Jones will also maintain responsibility for trading, marketing, eCommerce and Very Exclusive until a replacement is appointed to the executive board in this role.
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ABOUT SHOP DIRECT
Shop Direct is the UK’s second largest pureplay online retailer, with annual sales of £1.8 billion. Our digital department store brands are Very.co.uk, Littlewoods.com, VeryExclusive.co.uk and Littlewoods.ie. We receive an average of 1.2 million website visits every day, with more than 60% of our sales completed on mobile devices.
We exist to make good things easily accessible to more people. With our department store range of famous brands, market-leading ecommerce and technology capabilities and unique financial services products offering flexible ways to pay, we’re well placed to deliver on that promise.
We sell more than 1,100 famous brands, including big name labels and our own exclusive brands. We have four million customers and deliver 48 million products every year. Our free click and collect service, Collect+, delivers to 5,800 stores across the UK, providing ease and convenience for customers.