There have not been many ‘lolz’ at Asos this year – the fashion etailer has been trolled by the City after a series of profit warnings.
There have not been many ‘lolz’ at Asos this year.
The fashion etailer has been trolled by the City after a series of profit warnings.
But there are signs that Asos is taking the action necessary to get back on course.
One of the challenges that frequently faces entrepreneurial businesses is adapting to rapid growth and the consequent need for greater business discipline rather than the seat-of-the-pants, gung-ho style that might have typified the early days.
So the promotion of finance boss Nick Beighton to become Asos chief operating officer is welcome.
Beighton will take charge of retail and international – problems at the overseas businesses have been at the heart of the etailer’s recent difficulties – while Asos founder and chief executive Nick Robertson should be free to focus on strategy and driving growth.
Some will note that, as finance boss, Beighton must bear some responsibility for the position in which the etailer now finds itself. It’s a fair point.
However, he has wide-ranging experience, from Matalan to entertainment group Luminar, and has proven himself an able foil to Robertson since joining Asos in 2009.
Asos tried before to adapt its structure when it drafted in former Marks & Spencer fashion supremo Kate Bostock in 2012.
That didn’t work out, partly because the cultural gap was too wide.
The fear of some brokers, such as Cantor Fitzgerald, is actually that Asos might lose its unique culture – a bedrock of past success – as it grows.
But Beighton, as an insider, will be well placed in his new role to ensure that does not happen, while overseeing essential change such as investment in technology.
There’s a lot riding on the move – Asos must now of course find a new finance director – and analysts were digesting its implications in the wake of the results.
Asos chairman Brian McBride, a former Amazon director, must ensure that the change in responsibilities delivers – that the etailer changes but stays the same.
If it can do that, Asos should be able to retain its place among the ‘likes’ of its core 20-something shoppers.
Asos full-year profits fall 14% as it promotes finance boss Nick Beighton
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Comment: Why Asos was right to promote Nick Beighton