Lego names former Tesco exec Van Oosten as chief digital officer

The Lego Group has named experienced technology executive JJ Van Oosten as its new chief digital officer, effective from 6 April 2019.

Van Oosten, who has held senior retail technology roles at companies including Kingfisher, Tesco, Travis Perkins and Rewe, will join the brand’s executive leadership team and report directly to Lego CEO Niels Christiansen.

Lego said it intends for the new recruit to play a vital role in all aspects of the group’s digital strategy – from technology to eCommerce, as well as shopper engagement.

Explaining Lego’s need for the appointment, Christiansen said: “Digitalisation is impacting all aspects of our business from how we design products to how we engage with shoppers. 

“It is reshaping the retail landscape, and how children play. But it is also offering exciting opportunities and creating new ways for us to bring Lego play to more children around the world.”

He added: “The chief digital officer will help us to build a digital vision that will enable us to capitalise on emerging digital trends, continue to be agile and innovative and inspire children for generations to come.”

The CEO also referenced Van Oosten’s experience in leading digital transformation at other consumer goods and retail companies as a key reason for his recruitment to Lego.

Van Oosten was at Tesco from 2008 to 2011, holding CIO and non-food change director roles. His last long-term retail job was at German grocer Rewe between 2013-17, where he was CEO of Rewe Digital and group chief digital officer.

He also spent just five months as CTO at luxury group Richemont before departing suddenly one year ago, citing “personal reasons”.

“I am excited to join the Lego Group,” he said this week.

“Our children’s future will be shaped by automation, AI [artificial intelligence], robotics and environmental changes. For them to succeed in this new world, they need be agile, able to collaborate and problem solve and think creatively. Play, and Lego play in particular, gives them these skills and will help them shape their futures.”