Why is the former Amazon technology executive a good fit to lead Home Retail’s digital and tech transformation?

Home Retail has created the new board-level role of chief technology officer, and to fill it the Argos and Homebase parent has poached George Goley from US retailer Sears.

Having held senior roles at Sears, as well as technology giants Amazon and Microsoft, Goley looks like a savvy choice for Home Retail, which is half-way through its five-year digital transformation plan.

Goley has decades of experience in IT dating back to the early 1980s, when he was a senior computing technology consultant. He also has a long track record in big business transformation and has overseen the development of numerous IT systems.

During his three years as chief information officer at Sears Goley led engineering teams that rebuilt legacy systems to create more robust digital infrastructure and improve the speed new functionality was brought to market.

Between 2006 and 2012 he served as Amazon’s vice-president of technology and was tasked with managing the etail giant’s data warehouse and central product catalogue.

Prior to his time at Amazon, Goley held a number of roles at Microsoft, including a senior director position.

A move to Home Retail

Goley will join Home Retail at the end of June and absorb the responsibilities of information services director Peter Connor, who has decided to leave the company after 18 years.

Goley will join chief digital officer Bertrand Bodson on the executive board and both will report to chief executive John Walden. While Bodson looks after front-end technology developments, Goley’s responsibility will be in the engine room of the company, looking after ‘digital infrastructure’. That means his day job will revolve around ensuring that the modern needs of the retailer and consumer bolt on seamlessly to Home Retail’s legacy IT systems.

Goley will also have a close working relationship with Argos IT director Mike Sackman, who sits on the retailer’s executive board. A lot of the technology being developed by Home Retail is being trialled at Argos before Homebase, so Goley, Bodson and Sackman will work closely together to develop technological change for stores, distribution and the company’s websites and mobile offerings.

Home Retail has suffered infrastructure struggles over recent months, including its Argos ecommerce site crashing on a number of occasions and the temporary closure of a number of stores after problems with in-store payments.

Goley’s role will be to mitigate against future outages, and to ensure the systems work and integrate with the front-end systems either in-store, on mobile or website.

Walden said he hired Goley for his track record of “building strong engineering teams and developing world-class, innovative, highly scalable software systems for digital businesses”.