The major players in Multi-channel/e-commerce

If you have half a brain then you know that multi-channel and e-commerce is where the real action is within the retail sector.

That’s why and sponsors K3 thought it a good idea to conduct a survey across the sector to find out who the movers and shakers are in this part of the industry. A slightly more detailed explanation of the survey process can be found on the Retail Systems website.

We’ve come up with a Top 70 list of the key players, which will be revealed on September 15 at the Retail Systems Multi-channel Retail Conference.

But that seems a long time away so as a taster of that long-list we can reveal a Top 20 selection that is listed below. It’s in alphabetical order because deciding who is more important than the next person would have been a nightmare that was unwilling to undertake.

The Top 20 with a brief snapshot of each constituent is as follows:

1. Jeff Bezos, founder + Brian McBride, managing director –
Bezos is the pioneer of online retailing and continues to push Amazon into new categories. McBride has run the UK operation since 2006 having joined from T-Mobile.

2. John Bovill, group IT director + Hash Ladha, group multi-channel director – Aurora
The bit is between the teeth at Aurora (owner of Karen Millen, Oasis etcetera) to develop the business into a multi-channel operation with Bovill and ex-Asos director Ladha heavily involved.

3. Andrew Curran, co-founder + Sarah Curran, co-founder –
The complementary skills of the Curran pair have helped build into a dynamic growing fashion business that recently secured £6 million of funding from Balderton Capital.

4. Andy Ferguson, head of multi-channel – New Look
New Look is one of the rising stars of multi-channel retailing, with traffic numbers rivalling Asos, and Ferguson is integral to its progress to date and in the future.

5. John Gallemore, chief operating officer + Matthew Moulding, CEO – The Hut
The Hut has quietly been built up as an online platform for Tesco, Dixons and WH smith but under the guidance of its co-founders Gallemore and Moulding it is now also operating its own sites including and Zavvi.

6. Clare Gilmartin, managing director – eBay UK
As eBay attracts growing numbers of retailers to sell their goods on its Marketplace the role of Gilmartin in UK retail will become increasingly important.

7. Ben Gordon, CEO – Mothercare
Mothercare has been transformed into a multi-channel business under the leadership of Gordon with in-store internet ordering a key feature.

8. James Hart, e-commerce director + Nick Robertson, co-founder – Asos
As e-commerce director and 10-year Asos veteran Hart is vitally important to the business. He compliments Robertson whose mix of entrepreneurial drive and trading nous has helped change the landscape of online fashion retailing.

9. John Hinchcliffe, marketing director + Alan White, CEO – N. Brown
With a strong focus on the customer relationship N. Brown is being transformed from a catalogue company into an online (and recently shops) powerhouse with Hinchcliffe and White the key drivers.

10. Guy Hipwell, managing director of online – Liberty
Experienced operator Hipwell has been involved in dotcom-land since his time at in 1998. Via Arcadia and Harrods he has now landed at Liberty with responsibility for online and the supply chain.

11. Mark Hodgkinson, digital and financial services director + Doug Gurr, executive development director – Asda
Gurr is regarded by some as brilliant and will probably pop up one day as CEO of a FTSE 100 business. He set up online wholesaler Blueheath and is now developing multi-channel at Asda, ably assisted by ex-EMI man Hodgkinson

12. Natalie Massenet, founder and executive chairman –
Overcame the naysayers who said luxury and fashion would never sell online to build Net-A-Porter into a business that sold for £350 million to Richemont.

13. Simon Pritchard, group e-commerce director – Arcadia Group
Joined Arcadia in late 2009 and is in the process of developing its internet business through the experience he gained at DSGi.

14. Steve Robinson, CEO – M and M Direct
Robinson has helped to change the business model of M and M Direct from a catalogue business to online and in the very competitive market of discount clothing. He previously set up Tesco Direct.

15. Michael Ross, founder – eCommera
Another of those rare beasts that has worked across multiple online platforms, Ross helped set up before consulting for Baugur Group. As director of eCommera he works with and advises many retailers.

16. Simon Russell, head of multi-channel – John Lewis Partnership
JLP is making inroads into creating a true cross-channel business and Russell is integral to the decisions like attributing online sales to stores and Click & Collect.

17. Robin Terrell, executive director of multi-channel and international – House of Fraser
One of the most experienced players in the industry having worked across numerous platforms. At House of Fraser he has set the objective of generating 15% of revenues from online within three years.

18. Mark Newton-Jones, CEO + Jonathan Wall, director of online – Shop Direct Group
Newton-Jones has turned around what was the troubled Littlewoods catalogue business into a multi-fascia online operation. Wall brings vast experience from his time building up before its sale to BT.

19. Laura Wade-Gery, CEO + Nick Lansley, head of R&D –
Wade-Gery sits atop the biggest business in its field and has been at the helm of through massive growth in both grocery and non-food. Many of the cutting edge ideas come from Lansley who blogs at Techfortesco.

20. David Walmsley, director of e-commerce – Dixons Retail
Having taken John Lewis to another level online, Walmsley was brought in to Dixons in 2009 to use his strong technical abilities to overhaul its online operation that is crucial to overall group success.

We’d be keen to hear your thoughts on this short-list – regardless of whether you think it’s a load of old tosh or whether you agree with the inclusions. Send your comments direct to this website or email