* Bostock to join as exec director, product and trading in
* Appointment ends year-long pursuit by ASOS
* Product director Robert Bready resigns from firm
By James Davey
LONDON, Oct 10 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
Robertson said the appointment would assist the group as it
puts in place the structures needed to manage the next phase of
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
"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,"
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
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.