Shop Direct hires new chief executive

Liverpool-based online retailer Shop Direct has appointed gambling and leisure firm Rank Group’s chief executive Henry Birch as its new CEO.

He will join the company in the summer, replacing interim chief executive Derek Harding who has been in post since the exit of Alex Balding at the start of the year amid record-breaking Christmas trading results.

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

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

“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.”

Shop Direct owns Littlewoods and Very.