Ajay Kavan swaps low prices for luxury in move from Amazon to be Matchesfashion CEO
Matchesfashion has poached Amazon executive Ajay Kavan to be its new CEO, replacing Ulric Jerome. The new chief executive has been a vice-president at Amazon for the past nine years, currently serving as VP of International Special Projects. During his tenure at the e-tail giant, Kavan led several initiatives to improve the customer experience globally.
Additionally, he was responsible for core Amazon businesses like UK and EU Consumables, and led the development of concepts like Amazon Fresh in the EU and Japan, as well as the UK partnership with Morrisons.
Kavan will take the reins on 19 March, more than two years after Matchesfashion was acquired by Apax Investments for nearly $1 billion.
Gabriele Cipparrone, partner at Apax Partners and a Matchesfashion director, said: “Ajay’s extensive experience in e-commerce will be of great benefit to the business as it continues to innovate and expand in the luxury e-commerce space. Apax and the Matchesfashion team are looking forward to working with Ajay over the coming years and benefiting from his strategic insights and considerable experience.”
Kavan has been involved in retailing for over 25 years, working at various UK retailers including Homebase, B&Q and Shop Direct. He is currently also deputy chairman of In Kind Direct, a charity founded by the Prince of Wales.
It's an interesting move for the executive who has previously been focused on retail businesses where value prices were key. Amazon and Shop Direct (now known as Very) are very focused on offering low prices, for instance. At Matchesfashion, by contrast, he'll be moving into a very different world of luxury.
Commenting on his appointment, he said: “I am looking forward to working with the talented team at Matchesfashion to continue to improve the business for our global customers, to help scale the business and make Matchesfashion a place in which we all feel proud to work.”
The fashion retailer, which sells designer brands via its luxury e-commerce platform as well as in its three London stores in Marylebone, Notting Hill and Wimbledon, suffered a decline in profits in the year to January 31 2019 despite sales rising 17% to £372 million.
Amazon is thought to be working on a luxury fashion platform that will launch first in the US and then expanded internationally. If the rumours prove true, the move will see the global e-tailer enter the crowded field of digital luxury players.
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