Asos hires chief growth officer as turnaround bid continues

Robert Birge has held series of marketing leadership roles at US companies.

Asos: has worked with Uncommon
Asos: has worked with Uncommon

Asos has appointed Robert Birge (right) as its first chief growth officer, as the ecommerce business attempts to bounce back from a big fall in profits despite continued sales growth. 

Joining on 3 December, Birge will report to chief executive Nick Beighton and will lead both a marketing team of 170 people and a customer care operation of more than 1,200. Asos said it was the first in a series of appointments intended to strengthen the executive team; it is also in the process of hiring product, HR and strategy chiefs.

Asos has worked with agencies including Uncommon Creative Studio on its advertising. 

Birge's last role was president, ecommerce, executive vice-president, product and chief marketing officer at US online pharmacy Blink Health, which he left in April. He was previously chief marketing officer at travel business Kayak and business travel app Lola. From 2001 to 2006, Birge worked agency side at TBWA\Chiat\Day in New York. 

Beighton said: "Robert’s proven track record in delivering high-impact marketing programmes for fast-growing ecommerce businesses means he is an ideal appointment for this new role. And, with more than half of our revenue coming from international markets, his global experience will help fuel our ability to take advantage of the growth opportunities ahead of us."

Marketing at Asos had been led by global marketing director Yale Varty, who left in July to become chief marketing officer at Hostelworld. Global head of engagement marketing Morgan Fitzsimons left in October to become chief marketing officer at London Sock Company. 

Birge commented: "[Asos’s] world-class brand and recent infrastructure investments mean it is well-placed to accelerate its global growth plans."

Sales at Asos in the year ending 31 August grew 13% to £2.7bn, but issues including IT problems drove up costs, leading pretax profits to fall 68% to £33.1m. 

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