Shop Direct has poached Sainsbury’s head of technology Jon Rudoe for a newly created role as it merges its retail and IT teams. 

Rudoe, who has held the position of digital and technology director at Sainsbury’s since 2014, will join Shop Direct in April next year as retail and technology director.

Rudoe will report directly to Shop Direct chief executive Alex Baldock and will oversee ecommerce, marketing, trading, commercial, business development, Very Exclusive and IT.

John Rudoe speaks at Retail Week Live 2016

The etailer said the move to tie together retail and IT reflected its ”increasing focus on delivering an easy, inspiring and personalised customer experience underpinned by substantial investments in technology – particularly in the area of artificial intelligence”.

Pivotal moment in transformation

Baldock added: “Bringing together our ecommerce and IT teams into one combined function with Jon at the helm will allow us to respond more quickly to our customers’ rapidly changing needs, and to be faster to market in identifying and implementing new tech-focused opportunities.”

He described it as a “pivotal point” in Shop Direct’s transformation.

Rudoe first joined Sainsbury’s in 2011 and held a variety of roles before being put at the helm of the grocer’s digital and technology operations.

Prior to joining Sainsbury’s, Rudoe worked at Ocado for five years, becomig its head of retail and customer.

Rudoe said: “As a pureplay etailer with a clear, proven strategy and a hunger to be at the forefront of customer-centred technological change, Shop Direct is arguably the most exciting place to be in UK retail right now.

“Technology has an enormous role to play in further enhancing the shopping experience that Shop Direct offers its customers and in delivering its world class ambitions.”