Very Group brings back Hornby as digital CX director

paul hornbyThe Very Group, which last week appointed its first chief data officer, is further beefing up its senior team by reappointing former head of ecommerce Paul Hornby, as digital customer experience director.

Hornby first joined the company, which has rebranded from Shop Direct, in March 2006, holding a number of roles including head of digital transformation and head of ecommerce.

However, he quit in February 2018 to join Matalan to head up the high street retailer’s online shopping operation as ecommerce director.

While there, Hornby worked on driving innovation and adopting new technologies designed to give Matalan a competitive advantage, while also encouraging cultural change.

Now he joins CDO Steve Pimblett, who has been recruited from Wejo, to sit on the leadership team and report directly to chief technology officer chief technology officer and former Sky Betting & Gaming chief Andy Burton.

Hornby, who joins in January 2021, said: “The Very Group is a special business for me, and it has exciting plans for the future with more people shopping online than ever before.

“By continuing to develop an outstanding online experience, we can help to attract and retain even more of these new customers.”

Burton added: “We’re delighted to welcome Paul back. He’s an exceptional leader, strong technically and knows how The Very Group ticks.

“He was responsible for some standout innovation first time around, and I’m confident he’ll lead the team to even bigger improvements to the customer experience this time.”

The company has a rich home shopping heritage, and can trace its roots back nearly 100 years to the launch of the UK mail order giants, including Littlewoods, the Liverpool pools and retail group founded by John Moores, as well as Great Universal Stores and Kays Catalogues.

It was created following the 2003 Barclay brothers’ buyout, and initially became Littlewoods Shop Direct; it launched Very.co.uk in 2007 and took the name the Very Group in January this year.

The company now describes itself as “the UK’s largest pureplay digital retailer” and financial services provider, with annual revenues of £2bn and over four million customers.

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