Matalan recruits ex-Co-op chief to build customer unit

matalanCut-price designer chain Matalan has appointed former Co-op executive Ali Jones as chief customer and omnichannel officer with a brief to set up a new customer function within the retail business.

Jones, who was customer and community director at the Co-op Group from 2018 to 2022, has previously held senior brand and marketing roles at Woolworths Australia, Debenhams, M&S, Next and Arcadia Group.

Matalan said her initial focus will be establishing the new unit to connect all customer touchpoints and provide further clarity and accountability for its customers. All marketing, ecommerce and international teams will all now sit within the customer and omnichannel function.

Last month, the retailer appointed former Co-op Food chief executive Jo Whitfield as CEO of the group. At the Co-op, she was responsible for the company’s retail, wholesale, online and franchise businesses, as well as its property division. She oversaw revenues of £10.8bn in 2021 and was responsible for over 55,000 employees.

Meanwhile, Karl-Heinz Holland, the boss of German value fashion retailer Takko, has been appointed Matalan chairman. He previously spent 23 years at Lidl Group, six as CEO, responsible for leading its major expansion across Europe.

Whitfield said: “I am really excited about the opportunity that this appointment will give us, building on the great foundations and plans already in place. Working closely with Ali and her team, we will build a connected strategy and stronger brand experience, however our customers choose to shop with Matalan.”

Jones added: “I am both excited and honoured to be joining such a great brand and look forward to working again with Jo and with Karl-Heinz and the wider team at Matalan.

“There is no doubt that Matalan’s value proposition is ever more important to customers in the current inflationary environment, and I believe there is a great opportunity to transform the customer journey and bring more consumers to Matalan, more often, via a seamless omni-channel experience.”

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