Very Group recruits first CDO to drive insight strategy

veryThe Very Group, which earlier this year rebranded from Shop Direct, has hired its first chief data officer following a major recruitment drive and the creation of 150 new data and tech jobs.

Steve Pimblett joins the online retailer from Wejo, a UK firm which delivers data insights to improve loyalty for car manufacturers, insurers and service providers. Most recently, he held the dual role of CDO and chief information officer at the company, which has partnerships with General Motors, Daimler and Hyundai among others.

Prior to that Pimblett was CDO at Nasdaq-listed online gaming company Betsson Group, and general manager of data at Moneysupermarket.com.

At The Very Group, he will report to chief technology officer and former Sky Betting & Gaming chief Andy Burton. He will oversee the entire data operation, including strategy, data science, analytics and engineering.

The company 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.

Shop Direct embarked on a major digital transformation in 2012, ditching printed catalogues and investing in technology and data to boost personalisation techniques to attract and retain customers.

Last year, the group appointed a new tech leadership team, headed by Burton to ramp up its digital transformation, with a 275-strong technology team.

The Very Group 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.

Burton said: “Steve is an outstanding leader with real technical know-how. His experience will let us further build our data capabilities to give our customers the best, most relevant experiences and help us make even faster, better decisions.”

Pimblett added: “The Very Group has an ambitious vision for the future, and is growing as more and more UK consumers shop online. I can’t wait to work with the team to use our wealth of rich customer data to improve business performance.”

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