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Rank Group boss replaces Baldock as Shop Direct CEO


Liverpool’s Shop Direct has announced that Henry Birch will be joining the firm as group chief executive, later this year.

Birch is currently chief executive of FTSE listed Rank Group, the operators of the Grosvenor Casinos and Mecca Bingo brands.

Since taking up the role in 2014, he’s been credited with overhauling the brand, to become the country’s largest multichannel gaming operator, with digital revenues up 15% and profits rising 60% in the last year alone.

Before Rank, he spent 4 years as the CEO of William Hill Online, during which time, he launched the firm’s mobile business.

“I’m thrilled to be joining as unique and ambitious a business as Shop Direct. The company has been through an extraordinarily rapid and successful transformation over the last five years and flatly refuses to slow down. I’m looking forward to driving continued growth as Shop Direct continues to outpace its competition, and am excited to join the team to carve out the next chapter,” said Birch.

Shop Direct is the UK’s second largest purely retailer and is currently headed up, on an interim basis, by group finance director, Derek Harding. That follows Alex Baldock’s decision to step down in October last year.

“Henry is an experienced CEO and an exceptional leader. From both Rank Group and William Hill Online, he brings a track record of reshaping  businesses to become more customer-focused, data-driven and technology-enabled while simultaneously driving outstanding financial performance. We’re delighted to attract somebody of Henry’s calibre and very much look forward to working with him as we continue the digital transformation of Shop Direct,” added Aidan Barclay, chairman of Shop Direct.

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