Arcadia makes key IT and digital appointments

Fashion retail group Arcadia Group has announced a raft of new appointments to its IT and digital team, as the business looks to modernise.

Rafaele Petruzzo has taken the newly-created role of chief digital officer, having previously been chief transformation officer at digital payments provider, Nets Group. He previously held senior positions at Homeserve, Tesco and Barclays.

The new digital boss will work closely with former Cath Kidston, Specsavers and Primark man, Karl De Bruijn, who was recently appointed CIO at Arcadia. Both of them now sit on the board and report into CEO, Ian Grabiner.

In addition, Simon Pakenham-Walsh has joined Philip Green’s fashion empire as its digital and retail technology director, reporting directly to De Bruijn. Pakenham-Walsh was previously technology director in Sainsbury’s digital and technology division and CIO for its food division.

“I’m delighted to welcome Rafa, Karl and Simon to the group as we continue to drive forward our digital ambitions and boost our sales from online channels; a core pillar of our growth strategy,” Grabiner explained.

“They are all extremely experienced in their fields and I am confident they will add significant value to the group.”

He added: “Through a combination of improved customer insight and data, alongside enhanced site functionality and more efficient marketing spend, we are confident that Arcadia can create an even stronger bond between our brands and our customers, delivering uniquely personal shopping experiences.”

Embattled Arcadia recently reported an operating loss of £138 million for the 53 weeks to 1 September 2018, and is seeking new financing to help turn the business around following its seven company voluntary arrangements earlier this year.

The Topshop division reported a £498 million loss for the same period, during which the brand closed its US stores and experienced a 9% decline in revenue to £847 million.