Former Amazon UK boss Brian McBride’s appointment as chairman of Asos gives the fashion group another etail heavyweight at its helm to build on its already impressive growth.
McBride was managing director of Amazon in the UK for almost six years, in which period he launched the Kindle and introduced food on its site. He also laid the foundations for its purchase of Lovefilm in early 2011. Under his watch, Amazon became the largest online retailer in the country.
Asos will be hoping that McBride will help it on its way to its £1bn sales target figure, and Asos chief executive Nick Robertson cited McBride’s international experience in fast growing etailers as vital in achieving this.
McBride, a softly spoken Scot, led T-Mobile before taking over at Amazon in 2006. In an interview with Retail Week in 2008, he emphasised the importance of delivery, and oversaw the expansion of the same-day delivery service by opening warehouses in locations such as Swansea.
When he joined Amazon, he boosted the senior UK team with the appointments of, among others, Shaun McCabe, formerly of Homebase, as finance director and Wendy Mansell, from Gillette, as HR director.
Amazon is the master of launching into new categories, so it is possible McBride could oversee such activity at Asos. In a nod to his appointment at the fashion etailer, one of the surprise successes of Amazon’s expansions was shoes. He told Retail Week that bringing in new categories like footwear can be a “learning curve” and brings a “real buzz to the place.”
McBride left Amazon in January 2011 to fight cancer. However, he was not out of action for long, joining venture capital firm Scottish Equity Partners the next month.
With such determination and experience, it’s no surprise Asos has chosen him to be their £1bn man.