Shop Direct confirms start date for new CEO

Henry Birch Shop Direct CEO

Shop Direct has confirmed that its new chief executive Henry Birch will join the business on May 14.

He will take the reins from interim chief executive Derek Harding, who will continue to work closely alongside him in his role as group finance director.

Birch’s appointment to the role was first announced in March, five months after previous chief executive Alex Baldock resigned from the position to eventually take the helm of Dixons Carphone.

Birch is also poised to move into the top job during a time of upheaval for the online-only retailer.

Last month, Shop Direct announced it would close down its Greater Manchester warehouses and consolidate its operations in a new site at East Midlands Gateway.

The relocation will lead to the loss of 1992 jobs, comprising of 1177 permanent staff and 815 agency roles.

Birch is currently chief executive officer of FTSE 250-listed Rank Group, which owns and operates Grosvenor Casinos and Mecca Bingo alongside several European gaming and casino businesses. 

He has been chief executive of Rank Group since 2014, leading the business through a wide-reaching strategic overhaul to create the UK’s largest multichannel gaming operator.

Rank Group now has a fast-growing digital core with revenues up 15 per cent and profits up 60 per cent in the last year alone.

Prior to joining Rank, Birch spent four years as chief executive of William Hill Online, where he launched the company’s mobile business, driving 170 per cent growth in revenue and more than doubling operating profit. 

Birch previously held management roles at Leisure & Gaming, BettingCorp, Time Warner, Turner Broadcasting and Riffage, an early digital music operator based in Silicon Valley, and started his career working in the House of Commons.

Shop Direct is the owner of Littlewoods and Very.

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