What is H&M's new Business Tech division and who is the new CTO?

Fashion group H&M has appointed experienced consumer goods technology leader, Alan Boehme, as its new CTO.

Working alongside Daniel Claesson, H&M’s chief product officer, Boehme will co-lead the new Business Tech organisation within the group. The newly formed divison within H&M is designed to strengthen its ability to innovate and develop as a company, and it aims to help the group's retail banners drive a relevant and smooth customer service globally.

Boehme has arrived at H&M with extensive experience from various technology and management roles across multinational companies, most recently with Procter & Gamble (P&G), where he was CTO and latterly chief technology innovation officer.

Before that Boehme was CTO and leading the innovation charge at Coca Cola. H&M noted his “solid track record of leading global transformations and driving innovation work”, hinting at the task that awaits him at his new employer.

The CTO position was previously held by Joel Ankarberg, who has now assumed the role of head of group strategy & transformation.

Helena Helmersson, CEO of H&M Group, said: “Alan’s long experience from previous technology driven transformations at global consumer-oriented companies will contribute to the entire H&M group as we continue to digitalise and transform our business."

Boehme added: “The fashion industry is facing great changes, new opportunities and experiences for customers and societies because of technology advances at an ever-increasing pace.

“Combining technology advancements will serve as a driver for H&M Group to become an even more customer-centric company where new growth opportunities are enabled.”

What is Business Tech?

H&M says its Business Tech function aims to help create an environment for the entire group, which includes Cos, Weekday, Monki, H&M Home, Arket, & Other Stories, and Afound, to become more flexible and evolve with new trends and customer demands.

“Rapid technological development and new customer behaviours are transforming the fashion retail industry,” the retailer explains.

“To cater for the individual needs and desires of our millions of customers, Business Tech delivers technological solutions for the entire value chain for all of our brands.”

The division will explore new ways of working with a customer-focused mindset, and “release the power of our people to innovate and develop products that make a meaningful impact to customers all over the world”, according to H&M.

New H&M endeavours

H&M continues to be one of the largest fashion chains in the world by store square footage, but it has recently rolled out several new digital-led initiatives as it looks to continue adding to its platforms and maintain relevancy in the eyes of the modern shopper.

One of those new ventures includes its marketplace, Afound, launching into Germany and Austria, in May. The platform, which was created in Sweden in 2018 to handle overstock within the retail industry by offering deals on existing and previous fashion collections that did not sell at full price, is gradually expanding across Europe.

Meanwhile, Sellpy – a second-hand fashion platform in which H&M has a majority stake – launched in Germany in June, as the fashion group continues to increase its focus on more circular fashion economies in multiple territories around the world.