Shop Direct poaches Boots exec Guy Farmer for group trading director role

Shop Direct Guy Farmer
// Shop Direct appoints Guy Farmer as new group trading director
// Farmer is currently Walgreen Boots Alliance’s global retail brand director
// He will join Shop Direct in September, reporting to retail managing director Sam Perkins

Shop Direct has poached senior Boots executive Guy Farmer to take on the role of group trading director.

He will join the company – which owns online retailers Very and Littlewoods – in September and report to retail managing director Sam Perkins.

Farmer is currently vice president and global retail own brand director at Walgreens Boots Alliance, where he is responsible for all Boots-branded products worldwide.

During eight years at the alliance, he led a 155-strong multifunctional team and set up a global centre of excellence for the development its own-brand business.

Farmer has also held the roles of Boots’ cosmetics brands global director, healthcare and lifestyle trading director, and beauty trading director.

Prior to Walgreens Boots Alliance, Farmer spent 13 years at L’Oréal, progressing from marketing director to managing director and country manager for Portugal.

Before that, he spent six years in brand and category management positions at Procter & Gamble.

At Shop Direct, he will work with category directors and the director of the company’s global sourcing operation to oversee multifunctional teams including buying, merchandising, design, sourcing, data intelligence, finance and trading.

The amalgamation of these previously separate functions into category teams represents a new approach to the online retailer’s end-to-end customer experience and supply chain.

It began last year with the appointment of fashion, home, electrical and developing category directors and Shop Direct said this was already generating “strong results”, pointing to the peak Christmas period which saw revenue rise 3.7 per cent year-on-year for the seven weeks ending December 28.

Shop Direct’s retail team has also consolidated marketing activity under chief marketing officer Carly O’Brien, who joined the firm in early 2019.

She has now been appointed to the role permanently after initially taking it on an interim basis.

O’Brien has 18 years’ customer management and financial services experience, most recently as marketing director at Virgin Money Digital Bank.

She was previously head of customer acquisition marketing for current accounts at Royal Bank of Scotland and head of marketing at Bank of America.

“Guy’s and Carly’s expertise will allow us to make big steps forward in our mission to give customers the best products and online journey, whilst helping them spread the cost,” Perkins said.

“Guy’s outstanding trading and product experience means he’s ideally placed to cement our category management approach and even further improve the speed and quality of our commercial and customer decisions.

“Carly is already an integral part of the team and will use her marketing expertise to bring us closer to our customers through data and enable them to connect with our retail brands in new ways.”

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