• Ribble Cycles hires Shop Direct’s Jon Owen as its new chief executive officer
  • Ribble Cyces also appoints Matthew Lawson, who previously worked for Ao.com, as its chief digital officer
  • Appointments follow True Capital acquiring a majority stake in the retailer last year

Ribble Cycles has drafted in a former Asda and Shop Direct executive as its new boss to spearhead the retailer’s ambitious expansion plans.

The cycling specialist, whose advisory board includes retail veterans Sir Ian Cheshire and Terry Duddy, has poached Shop Direct’s Jon Owen as its new chief executive. It has also appointed Ao.com’s former head of conversion Matthew Lawson as chief digital officer.

Ribble, which is backed by private equity firm True Capital after it acquired a majority stake in the business last November, revealed the appointments amid its efforts to shift the etailer’s multichannel presence up another gear. 

Owen and Lawson will work alongside Ribble’s brand director James Dove, whose father acquired the business in 1980.

True Capital’s co-founder Paul Cocker said: “I am delighted that we have been able to attract people with the kind of talent and experience that Jon and Matthew will bring to the business.

“It is indicative of the huge opportunity that Ribble has to grow as a brand and I am confident that, together with James, we now have a world-class management team that can execute on our ambitious plans for the company.”

Prior to taking the helm at Ribble Cycles, Owen was director of Very.co.uk, where he drove a 20% increase in sales before sitting on Shop Direct’s board as group retail director. He previously spent seven years at Asda and Walmart in a variety of roles, including the supermarket giant’s marketing director.

Lawson worked for Ao for eight years as the etailer’s head of conversion, before leaving the electricals etailer in 2014. He then worked at Loveholiday.com as ecommerce director over an 18-month period during which its sales grew 130%.

Lawson said: “It’s a very exciting time to be joining Ribble and I’m looking forward to implementing my knowledge of how to get customers to convert online which will be pivotal during the launch of our new website.”

Correction: In the original version of this story, the headline stated that Matthew Lawson joined Ribble Cycles from Ao.com - we are happy to report that Matthew Lawson left Ao two years prior to joining Ribble Cycles and apologise for any confusion caused.