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Charlotte Heiss and Sean Hallows


The Very Group makes key appointments to its executive team

March 28, 2022

  • Charlotte Heiss joins as group general counsel and company secretary 
  • Sean Hallows is promoted to chief operating officer as Phil Hackney steps down

The Very Group, which operates digital retailer, today announces the appointment of Charlotte Heiss as group general counsel and company secretary. Charlotte will join the business’ executive team in May 2022 and report to group CEO, Henry Birch.  

Meanwhile, operations director Sean Hallows will be promoted to the role of chief operating officer, joining the executive team and also reporting to Henry Birch. Sean will succeed Phil Hackney, who will step down in April 2022 after six successful years in the role. 

Most recently, Charlotte spent 11 years at RSA Group, latterly as group general counsel, company secretary and a member of the group executive committee. She was responsible for a 40-strong global legal and company secretariat team at the former FTSE100 insurer, achieving excellent standards of corporate governance, co-leading the RSA team responsible for the company’s acquisition by Intact and Tryg and leading the group’s response to key legal matters, regulatory change and Brexit. Prior to RSA, Charlotte spent eight years at Linklaters LLP specialising in mergers and acquisitions. At The Very Group, Charlotte will oversee corporate governance, as well as all legal, risk and compliance issues. 

Sean has spent six years at The Very Group, during which time he has led all outbound logistics and returns, as well as the planning, development and launch of the company’s highly automated fulfilment centre, Skygate alongside Phil Hackney. Since it opened in March 2020, the site has reduced the time it takes from product order to despatch to 17 minutes – down from four hours at the company’s old fulfilment sites – and increased next day delivery order cut off time from 6pm to 10pm. More recently, Sean headed the transfer of all fashion returns activity to Skygate. Prior to joining The Very Group, Sean was chief operating officer at Clipper Logistics plc. 

During his six-year tenure, Phil led The Very Group's operations team, using technology to transform its fulfilment, logistics and customer care capabilities. He conceived and oversaw the launch of Skygate and digital improvements in Very's customer care team, including the rollout of its automated chatbot and a significant reduction in call volumes into the business’ contact centres. And he was also responsible for Very's sustainability strategy, sponsored the firm's diversity and inclusion agenda, and co-led its response to Covid-19, including the transformation of its office sites to support the company’s new hybrid working model. 

Henry Birch, group CEO at The Very Group, said: “Attracting someone of Charlotte’s calibre to the role of general counsel is testament to the strength of our business and an important step in our continued development. She will play a vital role in reinforcing good governance and leading our business’ response on legal, regulatory and compliance matters. 

“Sean is a hugely respected leader within our business and brings industry-leading experience, having launched and operated Skygate, one of the UK’s most advanced fulfilment centres. He has worked closely with Phil and is absolutely the right person to become our new chief operating officer as we continue to invest in the transformation of fulfilment, logistics and customer care. 

“I want to say a massive thank you to Phil, who is responsible for some of the most successful and important developments in our business over the last decade. He is a dedicated, talented and universally respected leader, who leaves an exceptional legacy at The Very Group. We wish him all the very best.”

Notes to editors

With annual revenue of £2.3bn, The Very Group is a unique digital business that combines online retail and flexible payments. Our family of digital retail brands, led by and supported by and, helps to bring 2,000 desirable labels within easy reach of more customers. 

Our team of passionate people has a shared purpose: making good things easily accessible to more people, and we’re here for the millions of online shoppers across the UK and Ireland. 

Across electrical, home, fashion and more, we sell everything our 4.8 million customers could need, except food. And our flexible payment options, which are provided responsibly via our Very Pay platform and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, help our customers manage their household budgets. 

We have over a hundred years of history behind us, but at our heart there is a passion for change – to constantly improve what we do, to innovate with data and technology at our core and to be the best possible place to work. 

For more information, visit our website or follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram

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