Recent Digital Leader Moves and High Profile Appointments, June 2015

Here is our report on recent digital leaders who have been appointed into new Digital Leadership roles recently across the wider marketplace.

  • Simon Belsham (x joins Not On The High Street as CEO
  • Darren Shapland NED at Ladbrokes joins Not On The High Street as Chairman
  • Kate Simon (x joins Transferwise as CMO
  • Gav Thompson (x joins Paddy Power as CMO
  • Simon Darling (x Quiet Riots) joins as Commercial Director (interim)
  • Paul Morris (x Tesco) joins Specsavers as Group eCommerce Director
  • Stuart Rowe (x Chemist Direct) joins Game Digital as Business Development Director
  • John Ashton (x Clarks) joins Travis Perkins as M-Channel & Digital M’ting Director
  • Andrew Miles (x joins as Online Director
  • Olga Nazarkova (x Mothercare) joins Amazon as Category Leader – Office
  • Jan Mehmet (x Jack Wills) joins Michael Kors as VP eCommerce EMEA
  • Aurelie Lepercq (x Love Home Swap) joins Gousto as Chief Product Officer
  • Simon Mortimer (x RSA) joins Saga as Chief Digital Officer
  • Phil Gripton (x Cupid Plc) joins First Utility as COO
  • Louise Mullock (x joins Eventim as CEO
  • Clifford Cohen (x M&S) joins Asos as CIO
  • Alison Lancaster (x McArthurGlen) joins BonMarche as Interim Marketing & M-Channel Director
  • Darryl Bowman (x joins Babylon Health as CMO
  • Hector Sousa (x joins Betfair as MD Customer Experience
  • Harry Briggs, Rory Stirling & Simon Calver join the new £200m Business Growth Fund

If you would like to discuss any of our current searches on the permanent or interim side, please get in touch,

Recent Digital People Moves, Spring 2015

Here is a snapshot of some recent high profile digital people moves from the UK Digital and eCommerce marketplace. Recent High Profile Digital People Moves:

  • Simon Thompson x joins HSBC as Gl Head of Digital Commerce
  • Ian Hood x Royal Sun Alliance joins Fidelity as Group Digital Officer
  • Jeremy Muras x Burberry joins Lion Capital as Digital Director
  • Chris Moran x Wolseley joins Levis as eCommerce Director Europe
  • Marco Preda x Ralph Lauren joins Diageo as GM Digital & eCommerce
  • Jim Mullens x William Hill Online joins Ladbrokes as MD Digital
  • Mark Felix x Sainsbury’s joins John Lewis as Director Online Trade
  • Mark Livingstone x LoveFilm joins Chemist Direct as CEO
  • Rob Jennings x Mamas & Papas joins Mars Petcare as eCommerce Director
  • Olivier Van Calster x joins MBA & Co as Chief Operating Officer
  • Tony Rivenell x Waitrose joins Boots as Director Omni-Channel
  • Miriam Lahage x Peek & Cloppenburg joins Navabi as Chief Merchant
  • James Leeson x John Lewis joins Oak Furniture Land as Online Director
  • Yvonne Chien x Getty Images joins Abcam as Chief Digital Officer
  • Shingo Murakami x Rakuten joins Google Japan as Industry Leader
  • Bob McNinch x Vodafone joins BT at Online Director
  • Tom Daniell x Tesco joins Babylon Health as Marketing Director
  • Arif Harbott x Morrisons joins Booker Group as Chief Digital Officer

Current assignments that we are managing include:

  • Chief Digital Officer Global Retailer/Consumer Brand c. £200,000 + bonus + package
  • Director of Digital Propositions (eCommerce + Marketing) UK Retailer, c. £180,000 + bonus package
  • eCommerce Director – European M-Channel Retailer, c. £150,000 + bonus + package
  • Commercial Director – Start up/Performance Advertising Switzerland, c.£200,000 + bonus + package + equity

For more information, do get in touch,

Establishing a Digital Advisory Board

The establishment of Digital Advisory Boards for executives and investors serious about de-risking business growth

By establishing a Digital Advisory Board (DAB) you and your leadership team will garner advice and perspective on the most important Digital related subjects ensuring the executive board gleans as much up to date insight and knowledge from highly experienced digital experts and leaders of successful digital businesses.

These might be current or past board or functional leaders from eBay, Amazon, Facebook, Skype, Uber, Google or Burberry for example.

Princedale Partners builds DAB’s for CEO’s who want to ensure they’re up to date with digital, how to make the most of today’s technology and what lies ahead. The wider executive boards benefit from advice on how to best future-proof your business appreciating the speed in which technology is both enabling and disrupting the way companies do business.

This is particularly relevant to legacy businesses that want to get up to date with digital and technology and the way in which they communicate, engage and sell to customers through the digital channels.

We also help private equity firms where a DAB offers perspective both for the firm and the portfolio investments. Here there is the additional benefit of succession planning for Chief Digital Officer or Customer/Digital Channel Directors and other relevant executive leadership positions within portfolio investments.
In most cases the DAB consists of four to six digital advisers from across the consumer markets with subject matter expertise in any of the following; digital payments, technology platforms, big data, security, mobile, social media, marketing and digital customer engagement.

We recommend the DAB meets four times a year with the client and the key digital sponsors within the organisation. This might be the Chief Digital Officer, the CTO, the CMO, the CFO or COO and of course the CEO.

Ideally the DAB meetings take place one to 2 weeks preceding the quarterly board meetings so that lessons learnt, ideas made and perspective shared can be considered and aired at the Board table whilst it’s fresh, relevant and considered.

The role and benefits of having a Digital Advisory Board are wide reaching but certainly cover the following:

  • The Next Big Thing. It provides strategic advice to the client, helping identify the next big thing in digital in the foreseeable future with pragmatic advice on how to assess opportunities and future-proof your business.
  • A Strategic Sounding Board. It serves as a valuable sounding board to understand and vet new digital strategies, ideas and implementation plans for the management team providing healthy constructive challenges where appropriate across all areas of digital activity i.e online trading, digital marketing, social media, technology investment, test and learn labs, fulfillment, data learning etc.
  • Individual Subject Matter Experts. Individual members of the DAB can also serve as subject matter experts to employees across the business. This way if a Finance or Operations Director for example needs a deeper understanding of a given digital subject they have direct access to a specialist with knowledge of say; enterprise architecture, search engine optimization, social media strategies, mobile platforms or appropriate digital marketing budgets.
  • Brainstorming & Problem Solving. The DAB also serves as a brainstorming group for key issues or opportunities for your business. Outside members are unbiased, offering balanced third party views on why issues are arising and can provide recommendations with the benefit of perspective from other industries that may have faced similar challenges.
  • Referrals & Recommendations. The digital advisers are also well placed to provide recommendations that can help you and your business with specialist agencies and consultancies (technology, strategy, marketing, talent), and equally helpfully, those to avoid.
  • Motivation, Enthusiasm and PR. The Digital Advisory Board serves as a statement internally and externally when the CEO and board want to ensure they’re not complacent but proactive in seeking answers and deeper understanding to ensure they stay up to date in understanding what’s happening in the wider digital world and what the future of technology looks like.
  • And finally a simple yet highly value safety check. It provides a safety check for the executive board to confirm whether current digital strategies are sound, whether any key elements are missing or whether there is a need for a course correction.

Four core commitments of the Digital Advisory Board members:

  • They agree to meet in person together for the four quarterly digital advisory board meetings in the run up to the company’s quarterly board meetings and contribute to the action plans and recommendations made and recorded.
  • They make themselves available for advice outside these meetings with specific individuals (within reason) from within the organisation. Typically those representatives from the company that meets with the DAB.
  • To agree that all non-public information shared is kept confidential and NDA’s are of course signed upfront.
  • Commit to a year as a DAB member to said client with an option on both sides to renew this on a yearly basis. To be negotiated via Princedale Partners Limited.

Establishing a Digital Advisory Board can be an incredible valuable thing to do and we have an excellent network of highly experienced digital leaders that are interested in helping businesses like yours.

To discuss this further please contact Rupert Jupp, MD at Princedale Partners, Digital Headhunters + Talent Advisers

Recent Digital Leader Moves, January 2015

With the first two weeks of 2015 behind us and with bonuses being paid imminently, we’re entering into one of the busiest time of the year as head-hunters as companies both established & growth look to appoint key digital leadership talent and people actively look for progressive moves.

Here is a snapshot of some recent high profile digital people moves from the wider commercial digital marketplace in which we specialise.


  • Andrew Brem (x British Gas) joins Aviva as Chief Digital Officer
  • Matt Garrood (x EE) joins Diageo as Global Digital Director
  • Rhian Bartlett (x Sainsbury) joins eBay as SoftGoods Category Director
  • Johnny Harnett is promoted to MD of Online, Paddy Power
  • Scott Eblen (x Google) joins Nutmeg as Chief Product Officer
  • James Donaldson (x joins WorldStores as CFO
  • Fraser Robinson (x joins Uber as Head of Business, Europe
  • Per Widerstrom (x PartyGaming) joins Fortuna Entertainment as CEO
  • Robin Beech (x Jacques Vert) and joins McArthurGlen as Head of Digital
  • Dominic Grounsell (x MoreThan) joins Travelex as Head of Digital Marketing
  • Megha Kansal (x McKinsey) joins Travelex as Head of Digital Strategy Delivery
  • Chris Marsters (x Addison Lee), joins First Utility as Product Leader
  • Matteo Berlucchi (x Northern Shell) joins your.MD as CEO
  • Adam Drake (x Zanox) joins SkyScanner as Chief Data Officer
  • Kerris Bright (x British Airways) joins Virgin Media as CMO
  • Johnny Coca (x Celine) joins Mulberry as Digital Marketing & Creative Director
  • Sarah Speake (x ITV) joins ClearChannel as CMO
  • Sarah Wilkinson (x Credit Suisse) joins the Home Office as CTO
  • Stephen Rowe (x Shop Direct) joins N Power as Marketing Director
  • Mark Steel is promoted to Digital Operations Director at Argos
  • Raman Bhatia (x HouseTrip) joins HSBC as Head of Digital UK

A digital headhunter: 2014 the year in reflection

Two years since establishing Princedale Partners I am proud of what we have built as a specialist digital headhunting and talent advisory firm. As we look back on 2014 I thought I’d share some of the snippets of what we have achieved and learnt as we look forward to 2015 and growth…

  • We’ve worked hard not to overstretch ourselves, only working on four searches at any one time. In my experience too many consulting firms overstretch themselves. We won’t, we believe we will be successful over the long-term if we invest more time upfront, are tenacious in our headhunting, focused in our delivery and stick to our core focus on commercial digital leadership appointments across Europe.
  • Our simple mantra. We want to partner with no more than five clients in each of the following consumer sectors; Retail, Marketplaces, Consumer Goods, Gambling/Gaming, Media, Financial Services and Travel. This way we can do the most thorough work for all clients without tying ourselves in knots. These relations will be longstanding and mutually beneficial like any good partnership and we as a firm will be able to maintain our important ethics and not fall in the trap bigger search firms fall into in trying to work with too many clients.
  • I have learnt to say no. We cannot be all things to all people and when clients have asked us to help with roles outside of our core focus we have been clear from the outset, often recommending other firms that are better placed (i.e functional technology specialists). We have enjoyed a trial partnership with a contingent recruitment firm that helps clients at the middle management level (60-120k salaried appointments) ensuring that the clients who we can’t help at that level are looked after. What goes around comes around.
  • Interim Practice Launch: We’ve been delighted to have been able to help clients with several interim appointments through 2014 covering; Digital Marketing, CRM & Customer, Online Trading, Digital Strategy & Transformation specialists with day rates of £850 – £1750 and terms of 3-9 months. This specialism will be a focus of growth in 2015.
  • One of our clients that we have done the most amount of work with over the two years is an international consumer foods group. Not what I had envisaged but a terrific project that we made four placements with. I expect there will be many more consumer goods business wanting to sell, market and more effectively engage through the digital channels cutting out the retailer and I predict this will be a focus in 2015.
  • We like to work with businesses of all sizes be it; listed, mid-size and start-ups. In 2014 we have worked with Coca-Cola, Argos, Nike and eBay but also smaller fast growing businesses like; BuyaPowa, First Utility and Secret Escapes. We’re keen to work with more mid-sized growth consumer businesses in 2015 and feel well placed to help here whether that’s taking talent from more established business or from start-up’s.
  • We were very proud to be invited to no.10 Downing Street to meet the Digital Advisor to the Prime Minster earlier this year. A great honour and terrific experience. It’s massive by the way!
  • Digital Business Leaders Drinks Party: We hosting our annual cocktail party in the summer that involved a heated ping-pong competition at Bounce in Holborn. Great pride was felt in bringing esteemed digital leaders together from across the consumer business world and we were delighted with the feedback and the write-up we got in the Evening Standard! No slideshows on us but people we rate sharing perspectives across digital.
  • In 2015 and with a strong foundation for growth I’m particularly excited to be looking at hiring an experienced Headhunter/Partner to work with to augment our position and grow from here. We’re also currently assessing the opportunity to open an international office, more soon.
  • And finally… We will be launching our Digital Advisory Boards service (DAB’s) for corporate clients in Q1 2015 in partnership with a high profile author on the subject of Technology Disruption for CEO’s that want to ensure they are up to date on future disruption and not caught sleeping at the wheel. This neatly complements our Executive Search and Interim Placement specialisms and sets us up to help Boards across Europe with greater digital understanding before recruiting.

To all clients and job-seekers that we’ve had the pleasure to work with this year, thank you and we look forward to supporting you in 2015.

Rupert Jupp
MD, Princedale Partners

Digital People Moves – Autumn Report

As is typical at this time of year, autumn is proving to be a popular time for executive searches and leadership appointments in the UK.

There are three main drivers for this, namely; people returning from summer holidays tend to look for fresh challenges and change in September and are therefore motivated to make important career decisions. Often too, companies want to make key leadership hires before peak Christmas trading, whilst people are open to career moves and bonus payment is typically someway off next year.

We are particularly busy at the moment conducting digital leadership searches for clients across the consumer markets, regions and functions that include the following:

  • eCommerce Director (Central & Eastern Europe) – Global Sports Brand, Amsterdam
  • Head of Global Digital Delivery – Major International Payments Business, London
  • Digital Director – Fashion / Retail / Multi-Channel Business, London
  • Product Director/Leader: Mobile & Customer Proposition – Private Energy Business, London
  • Executive Merchandising – Trading / Category / Commercial Management: Marketplace, London

Here is an overview of Recent Digital and Executive Leadership Moves:

  • Meg Lustman (x John Lewis) joins Hobbs as CEO
  • Robin Phillips (x Waitrose) to join Boots as Director of Multi-Channel
  • Andy McWilliams (x Ann Summers) joins Bata as Interim eCommerce Director
  • Simon Calver (x Mothercare) joins Chemist Direct as Chairman
  • Dominic Collins (x EE) joins Legal and General as CMO
  • Sienne Veit (x Morrisons) joins John Lewis as Director of Online Product
  • Dana Anderson of Mondelez is promoted to SVP & CMO
  • Pascal Moyon (x Avis Budget Group) joins as Chief Digital Officer
  • Derek Lovelock (x Aurora Fashions) joins Mama’s & Papa’s as interim CEO
  • Delphine Robiot (x Tommy Hilfiger) joins Zalando as VP Markets
  • Gary Bramall (x Microsoft) joins Hailo as CMO
  • Paul Mason (x Asda) joins New Look as NED
  • Nick Constantinou (x AKQA) joins Addison Lee as Head of Marketing & Product Innovation
  • Andrew Doe (x Thomas Cook) joins Premier Farnell as Interim eCommerce Director
  • Tom Barker (x BBC) joins the National Trust as Head of Digital
  • Nigel Lawmon (x Fragrance Shop) joins FeelUnique as Commercial Director

This is just a selection of recent moves that have taken place in the wider market. For more information on current searches we are conducting, or insight into those we were responsible for placing, do get in touch,

Recent Digital People Moves in the UK Marketplace

Here is a snapshot of just some of the digital business leaders moves in the last month or two, along with a snapshot of some of the leadership roles being appointed in the wider marketplace.

  • Niall Wass (x CEO Wonga) joins Uber as SVP, EMEA & APAC
  • Clare Gilmartin (x VP Ebay) joins as CEO
  • David Worby (x CEO MyWardrobe) joins Bata as Multi-Channel Director
  • Shaun Gregory (CEO of Exterion Media) joins Proxama as NED
  • Barry Wyse (x Multi-Channel Director White Company) joins AlexandAlexa as VP Digital
  • Ottokar Rosenberger (x Sports Marketing Director, Betfair) joins Web Reservations as CMO
  • Alan White (x CEO N Brown) joins M&M Direct as Chairman
  • Gareth Gaston (x EVP Digital Wyndham Worldwide) joins Virtual Bank as EVP, USA
  • Rob Moss (x CMO Secret Sales) joins Urban Outfitters as Marketing Director
  • Simon Calver (x CEO Mothercare) joins as Chairman
  • John Connolly (x VP Expedia) joins Macmillan Publishing as Chief Product Officer
  • Henry Birch (x CEO William Hill Online) joins Rank Interactive as CEO
  • James Bromley (x MD Mail Online) joins SwiftKey as COO
  • Richard Clark (x Online Controller Home Retail Group) joins Boohoo as Marketing Director
  • Nilan Peiris (x VP Growth HouseTrip) focusses on Transferwise as VP Growth
  • Neil Campbell (x Commercial Director Rangespan) joins Betfair as Director of Ecommerce
  • Mike Hoban (Sales, Marketing & eCommerce Director Thomas Cook) joins Morrisons as Brand & Marketing Dir
  • Rob Jones (x Head of Ecommerce White Stuff) joins Anthropologie as Head of Ecommerce
  • Greg Brien (x Secret Sales) joins Secret Escapes as Merchandising Director

A Snapshot of leadership appointments being recruited currently in the wider marketplace, to include a number that we are personally conducting at Princedale Partners:

  • Tesco Head of Product Management – Intl
  • Ebay Category Director Hardlines & Softlines
  • Director of Customer Engagement
  • Royal Sun Alliance Head of Global Digital Data & Analytics
  • Travelex Head of Digital Operations
  • HSBC Digital Marketing Director and several Product Directors for Digital
  • Mexx Digital Marketing, Loyalty & CRM Director
  • Burberry Global Digital and Retail Director, Beauty
  • Ministry of Sound Head of eCommerce
  • Net-A-Porter Head of eCommerce
  • FitFlop Global eCommerce Director
  • Pearson VP Product Management
  • De Beers Head of Digital
  • PayPal Director of Digital Marketing
  • The Hut Group Director of Product Management

… to name just a few.

If you would like to discuss any of these appointments or would like related advice on your career or hiring exceptional digital leadership talent for your business get in touch through the contact page.

Recent activity

Well the last few weeks has been very interesting and indeed busy with positive developments for the business. After throwing a successful and enjoyable Digital Business Leaders Drinks Party @ Bounce in London, we were invited to meet the Digital Adviser to David Cameron at No.10 Downing Street which was fascinating and a great honour for us to discuss the Digital economy in such an amazing place.

We have also launched this month our interim practice off the back of a high demand from clients needing deeply experienced experts to help with shorter term digital projects. We have a strong network now of specialist interim candidates who are on hand to help with key initiatives from digital growth strategy to CRM and Loyalty Management.

And finally we have updated our website to share with you some of the clients we’ve worked with in the last year or so. Do get in touch if we can help with anything related to the subject of hiring digital leadership talent across Europe.

Highlights of a Digital Headhunter looking back on 2013

At the first year anniversary since establishing Princedale Partners I am both heartened and proud to have taken the decision to establish the company and to have worked with some of the most loved brands in both the UK and globally.

The niche we’re carving out is to be the most knowledgeable, connected and consultative specialist digital headhunters in Europe.

Unlike other recruiters in the digital space, our focus is in helping advise and recruit world class digital leaders for established, typically listed consumer businesses. We have on occasion helped some fascinating growth start-up businesses with Board appointments but typically it’s the established brands across; Retail, Consumer Goods, Travel, Media and Financial Services that we have worked with in 2013.

A few highlights include:

  • Being contacted by one of the top three brands in the world to conduct their European Digital Director search.
  • Working on one of the most high profile Digital Marketing Director searches in the UK supermarket sector.
  • Hiring a Managing Director (Germany) for a multi-billion dollar listed international technology business.
  • Setting up our Digital Interim practice where we’ve made a number of placements for seasoned digital professionals to help clients with assignments lasting from 3 – 6 months.
  • Hiring a terrific Researcher who has been great from the get-go and who I can already see huge potential in long term.
  • Being asked to be on a high profile Digital Advisory Board for one of the largest and highly respected organisations in the UK.
  • Launching the new service of creating Digital Advisory Boards (DAB’s) for clients that recognise they need insight from highly experienced digital specialists to help them advise and plan for the future to best engage with their customers.

The benefits of Digital Advisory Boards

A ‘DAB’ hand…

When researching Digital Advisory Boards on Google, only one FTSE company is ranked and that is Thomas Cook Plc. The other results are almost entirely news articles on governmental digital advisory boards. Is government really ahead on its thinking about the future of digital than UK Plc?

Harriet Green, CEO of Thomas Cook Plc who is leading the impressive turnaround of one of the oldest British high street retailers sights ‘a vital element in our transformation is the development and implementation of our digital strategy.’ I suspect these very words have passed the lips of most CEO’s, on more than one occasion.

She goes on to say “The DAB will make a significant contribution to the success of Thomas Cook. It, in addition to the group’s executive team, includes an exceptional array of independent experts whose input will be invaluable to our activities.”

I believe that the establishment of Digital Advisory Board’s (DAB’s) will increasingly happen through 2014 for companies looking to gain perspective and council from outside their specific sector or market whether that’s retail, travel, consumer goods, media or banking. The value of these DAB’s will be significant.
Every day we hear about companies looking to ‘transform’, ‘pivot’ or ‘innovate’ and there’s good reason for this. But who’s helping with the answers? Equally importantly who’s asking the right questions of not just what’s possible, but also what’s fundamental for future business growth in this fast evolving digital world.

Most boards are made up of industry veterans, those that have worked up through the sector and sometimes through the ranks of the company itself. And of course that wealth of experience is important, but it exposes a risk in this day and age of not better understanding the nuances of how other businesses in other sectors approach selling, marketing and communicating with their customers.

Let’s take a major UK high street bank that is about to invest hundreds of millions of pounds in technology to further improve the way the business is run, by putting technology in place to best serve its increasingly digitally savvy customer.

A Digital Advisory Board of five experienced digital specialists, helping the board make the right decisions might look like this:

  • A Product Director x PayPal
  • An Online Trading Director x Argos
  • A Content Director x Expedia
  • A Director of Advertising Sales x
  • And a CTO x Amazon

These members meet the board quarterly to share knowledge and insight, especially helping the CEO and the CFO. This doesn’t expose ignorance; it helps ensure the right questions are being asked, with the added benefit of learning from others from leading companies outside of the banking sector. This is likely to cover lessons from; ‘test and learnt’ initiatives, accurate digital marketing budgets, optimal team structuring and advice on the right external technology partners to work with.

Some might say their CEO’s will be concerned that their lack of digital knowledge would be exposed. Maybe, but if we in the UK continue to pioneer much of the ever growing global eCommerce and digital industry, then we must truly invest in knowledge and how other businesses embrace the incredible technology available to drive growth and impress customers.

If you would be interested in discussing being a Digital Advisory Board member in another sector, or you feel the creation of a DAB would be valuable to your board and business, we’d be delighted to discuss it with you.

Rupert Jupp
Managing Director & Founder