On the face of it, Phil Branston is simply swapping one online marketplace for another by moving from Just Eat to take up the position of chief financial officer at Notonthehighstreet.com.
Both businesses have built platforms that connect consumers with small business owners, but that’s largely where the similarities end.
While Just Eat’s sales continue on a sharp upward trajectory (revenues jumped 43% to £779.5m in 2018 with profits of £102m), Notonthehighstreet’s group sales have levelled off at around the £40m in recent years and the business remains loss-making.
Branston’s operational and commercial insights into how to profitably scale a marketplace business will prove invaluable
The appointment of Branston makes a lot of sense given Notonthehighstreet’s current focus is on developing its complex legacy IT system to improve the online experience for its customers and sellers.
One of the reasons behind Just Eat’s success is the ease of use of its app, which provides customers with an instant overview of menus from over 30,000 restaurants and enables them to place an order with the least amount of friction.
Having worked as Just Eat’s commercial finance director for over two years, Branston’s operational and commercial insights into how to profitably scale a marketplace business will prove invaluable as Notonthehighstreet chief executive Barrie Seidenberg looks to take the plateauing group to the next level.
A Cambridge University geography graduate, Branston’s career to date combines finance with experience in business development and investor relations.
Roles at Misys, Bradgate and Sage were followed by a five-year spell with software developer WANdisco, latterly as VP commercial development, data and analysis, which included a stint working in California.
He joins Notonthehighstreet hot on the heels of the appointment of one of the sector’s most respected digital leaders in the shape of former Asos technology director Richard Zubrik, who took up the position of chief technology officer in January.
The recruitment of two senior executives from businesses known for successfully disrupting their respective markets is a coup for Seidenberg, who is just a year into the job.
With ex-Sainsbury’s man Darren Shapland bringing a wealth of retail experience as chair, Notonthehighstreet looks to have assembled a leadership team that can finally take it to the next level.