Very Group hunts data science chief to boost business

Very-GroupThe Very Group is continuing to ramp up its use of business data by kicking off the search for its first head of data science as part of the digital transformation of the brand that can trace its roots back to the early days of home shopping in the 1920s.

The role includes responsibility for leading the data science, machine learning and experimentation teams, handling all vendor relationships and multi-million pound analytics vendor contracts with companies such as SAS and AWS.

They will oversee a team of 20-plus data professionals, which over time could double in size. The team uses advanced analytical techniques and statistical modelling to support many areas of the business.

These include measuring and optimising marketing spend, assisting in stock purchasing decisions, to diagnosing customer challenges in Very’s digital customer experience and making recommendations to improve them.

Working closely with chief data officer Steven Pimblett, who joined the company last September, the head of data science will ultimately report into to chief technology officer Andy Burton.

According to the job spec, the data science team works with many different parts of the business, adopting working styles to best suit the collaboration, and team members are encouraged to feel part of the wider data community across the business.

The Very Group is moving towards a so-called “tribe and product” structure, where product development staff are separated into specified units so that they can then work on a particular aspect of a product.

The company’s heritage dates 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 now describes itself as “the UK’s largest pureplay digital retailer” and financial services provider, with annual revenues of £2bn and over 4 million customers.

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