UPDATE 2-ASOS gets its woman as Bostock joins as senior exec

Wed Oct 10, 2012 5:20am EDT

* Bostock to join as exec director, product and trading in Jan

* Appointment ends year-long pursuit by ASOS

* Product director Robert Bready resigns from firm

By James Davey

LONDON, Oct 10 (Reuters) - A year-long courting by British online fashion retailer ASOS of Kate Bostock, a former top executive at Marks & Spencer, has paid off after she agreed to join the company to help steer its rapid growth.

ASOS said on Wednesday Bostock, 55, who had been linked with a position at the company since last November, would join its board in January as executive director, product and trading, reporting to Chief Executive Nick Robertson.

"ASOS is a phenomenon and I'm in awe of the story ... the potential for ASOS globally is huge," Bostock said.

As head of general merchandise at M&S, Britain's biggest clothing retailer, Bostock was one of the most powerful women in the stores sector, drawing a near 1 million pounds ($1.6 million) annual salary.

ASOS declined to comment on the remuneration package she will receive in her new post.

Her departure from M&S was announced in July when the group reported its biggest quarterly sales drop for three and a half years, but she did not officially leave until Oct. 1.

She brings to ASOS a wealth of experience in fashion and retail, having worked for Next, Britain's No. 2 clothing retailer, and then George at Asda, a subsidiary of the world's largest retailer, Wal-Mart, before joining M&S in 2004.

ASOS, which targets young women looking to emulate the designer looks of celebrities like Alexa Chung, Tulisa Contostavlos and Kate Moss, has been expanding overseas as its home market starts to mature.

In its fourth quarter, 65 percent of sales were made overseas.

NEXT PHASE

Robertson said the appointment would assist the group as it puts in place the structures needed to manage the next phase of its growth.

Launched in 2000 and floated on the AIM market a year later, ASOS is one of the biggest success stories of British retailing in recent times. It is targeting 1 billion pounds of annual sales by 2015.

Sanjay Vidyarthi, analyst at Espirito Santo Investment Bank, said he expected Bostock's appointment to be welcomed by the market.

"It will be interesting to see how the fit works, given the very different culture and customer demographic at ASOS compared with the companies at which Bostock has previously worked," Vidyarthi said.

ASOS said current product director Robert Bready had resigned "to pursue fresh challenges" after seven years at the firm. He sold 2.6 million pounds of ASOS shares in July.

Last week, ASOS said Brian McBride, a former managing director of Amazon in the UK, would succeed Waheed Alli as chairman from Nov. 1.

Last month the firm said it would meet yearly profit forecasts after maintaining a heady rate of sales growth in its fourth quarter, buoyed by strong trading in the United States and Australia.

Shares in ASOS - which have risen 57 percent over the last year, hitting a 12-month high of 2,359 last month - were down 0.3 percent at 2,276p by 0825 GMT, valuing the business at about 1.85 billion pounds.