Shop Direct appoints Henry Birch as new CEO

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Henry Birch Shop Direct CEO

Shop Direct has hired Rank Group boss Henry Birch to be its new chief executive.

Birch, who will join the online retail giant later this year, will replace interim chief executive Derek Harding.

Birch is currently the chief executive of Rank Group, a gambling and leisure company that operates Mecca Bingo and Grovesnor Casinos as well as several European gaming and casino businesses.

Before joining Rank in 2014, Birch spent four years as chief executive of William Hill Online, where he launched the company’s mobile business.

“I’m thrilled to be joining as unique and ambitious a business as Shop Direct,” Birch said.

“The company has been through an extraordinarily rapid and successful transformation over the last five years and flatly refuses to slow down.

“I’m looking forward to driving continued growth as Shop Direct continues to outpace its competition, and am excited to join the team to carve out the next chapter.”

Shop Direct chairman Aidan Barclay said: “Henry is an experienced CEO and an exceptional leader.

“From both Rank Group and William Hill Online, he brings a track record of reshaping businesses to become more customer-focused, data-driven and technology-enabled while simultaneously driving outstanding financial performance.”

Birch’s appointment comes as Shop Direct’s senior executive team undergoes an upheaval with departures and new appointments in recent months.

Harding stepped into the chief executive role on an interim basis when Alex Baldock exited at the start of the year amid its record-breaking Christmas trading results.

Baldock first announced he was planning to step down in October.

“I’d like to thank Derek Harding for the superb job he’s done of leading Shop Direct over the last few months,” Barclay said.

“Derek will continue to drive the business forward as interim CEO until Henry arrives, and we look forward to continuing to work with him as group finance director thereafter.”

Shop Direct is the owner of Littlewoods and Very.

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