Shop Direct’s new boss Alex Baldock speaks to Retail Week about his new role.

What attracted you to the role?

It’s a plum job. It’s a strong business with great prospects. Mark and his team have done a great job at turning an old catalogue retailer into a thriving online retailer.

What are your plans for the business?

To continue the great work that Mark and the team have done and grow profitability. There is so much opportunity to innovate. Its online and mobile capability are already the envy of many across the industry. I am very impatient to get started.

Shop Direct has been edging closer to profit. Are you the man to break through the barrier?

It’s on the right trajectory. It’s moving towards profitability and I have a track record of growing profitable businesses.

Why have you made the move from banking to retail?

I had a lot of retail experience earlier in my career. I advised the likes of Marks and Spencer, House of Fraser and Vodafone.  I’ve always had a fascination with this industry. There’s a certain amount of retail in my family too. My wife was a designer with Mulberry and my father was chairman of Marks and Spencer.  

Financial services are a big part of the Shop Direct business. My background will also help with relationships with the funders of the business.

What drives you?

Work is a massive part of my life. I like winning and always have, from playing monopoly as a child to football or cricket. I tend to seek out challenges and like being tested. Working at RBS for the past four years has certainly been interesting, but I think being tested makes you a stronger leader.