25 May 2024, 17:53
By Furniture News Apr 10, 2024

Ex-Fenwick boss promoted to group CEO at Very

The Very Group, operator of digital retailer Very, has promoted retail MD Robbie Feather to the position of group CEO, succeeding Lionel Desclée.

Robbie will join the company’s board and lead its executive team.

Robbie, who joined the group in 2021, previously led the company’s retail team, which includes all category sourcing, buying, and merchandising, as well as group trading and marketing.

He recently oversaw the development of the company’s successful new brand platform and its impressive retail performance, which saw Very UK H1 FY24 revenue grow +2.7% YoY to over £1b, increasing total online market share by +0.2% pts.

Formerly CEO of luxury department store business Fenwick, Robbie helped to turn around the company and modernise its customer proposition, including launching its online business. He previously held a number of roles at Sainsbury’s Argos, including commercial director on the Argos board, during which time he oversaw the digital transformation of the business and led the commercial team – and was the co-founder of Feather & Black, the bedroom retail brand now owned by Dreams.

Lionel Desclée has chosen to step down as group CEO to pursue new opportunities. Under Lionel’s leadership, the company delivered robust results, including increasing H1 FY24 pre-exceptional EBITDA by +10.1% YoY to £130.7m.

Customer experience improvements helped The Very Group record its best-ever net promoter score, which remains high, while staff improvements boosted engagement. The company also reached milestones in its tech transformation, such as migrating to cloud infrastructure, introducing AI-powered on-site search, and partnering with Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft to accelerate generative AI innovation.

Robbie comments: “I’m hugely excited to be appointed group CEO of The Very Group. This is an outstanding business with a unique proposition, combining multicategory digital retail with flexible ways to pay. I look forward to working with our amazing Very team to delight our customers and continue to deliver sustainable growth for our shareholders.”

Lionel says: “It has been a privilege to lead this innovative and committed team in delighting our customers. I am proud of our achievements and believe that under Robbie’s leadership, the company will continue to succeed.”

Aidan Barclay, The Very Group’s chairman, adds: “Robbie has proven to be an outstanding retail leader, both at The Very Group and throughout his career. He understands our business intimately and has a strong track record of transformation and growth. He is the perfect person to lead the next stage of The Very Group’s development. On behalf of the board, I want to thank Lionel for his strong, customer-focused leadership. We wish him the very best in his future endeavours.”

Photo courtesy of The Very Group


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