by CIO Staff

ASOS seek third CIO since 2010 as Pete Marsden resigns

Sep 02, 20143 mins
CareersIT LeadershipRetail Industry

ASOS, the fashion ecommerce trader, is yet again searching for a new technology executive following the departure of CIO Pete Marsden. ASOS has changed senior IT leader three times since 2010 with the recent tenure of business technology leaders averaging two years. In the last five years the tenure of a CIO has generally increased from a previous low of two years, recruiters have told CIO UK.

A spokesperson for the online fashion and beauty retailer said: “ASOS is reviewing the management structure of its IT department following the departure of Pete Marsden by mutual consent.

“A process to find his successor is underway, both internally and externally.” Marsden was an external recruitment, replacing Dan West as head of IT in 2012.

Founded in 2000 ASOS is often held up as a champion of ecommerce and the digital revolution. It was set up by Nick Robertson and Quentin Griffiths as the stock market lost its faith in online business models in the dot com crash of 2000 to 2001. ASOS went public one year from launch and made its first profit in 2004 and until very recently has been an organisation that bucked the current recession and was at the helm of the digital revolution as consumers increasingly shifted towards online retailing. In 2013 ASOS reported sales of £753.8 million and was estimated to be worth £159 million. Today ASOS sells 850 brands and has its own range of clothing and publishing arm producing printed magazines and Apps.

Two elements to the success of ASOS have been an agile attitude to technology that has seen it rapidly adopt and benefit from technology changes such as mobility and cloud, but also its supply chain which provides customers with rapid delivery of their orders and ASOS was one of the first in the fashion market to provide a free returns service.

In 2012 ASOS invested in a major new distribution centre in Barnsley, West Yorkshire, enabling the retailer to improve its shipments to 237 nations. However, in June 2014 the new distribution centre suffered from a major fire that has damaged the ability of ASOS to trade at full strength and reduced the ASOS value by £1.2 billion.

To add to the woes at ASOS, the London headquartered organisation, issues a profit warning earlier this year and shares have fallen sharply during August as rumours of takeover by internet retail giants Amazon and eBay abound, according to Reuters. Shares in ASOS fell sharply in the last week of August and have fallen by two-thirds this year, which has seen the shares in online rivals Boohoo and Yoox increase by 7.6 per cent, Reuters says.

Marsden, a former BBC Worldwide CTO, joined ASOS in September 2012 from Royal Bank of Scotland, where he was head of development. Prior to this, he had senior roles Orange UK and was also CIO and CTO of online-only bank Egg.