Asos founder steps down after 15 years

<p>Nick Robertson will remain on the board as a non-executive director.</p>

Online fashion retailer Asos has announced on Wednesday (September 2nd) that the company's founder and chief executive, Nick Robertson, is stepping down after 15 years.

Mr Robertson's decision will go into immediate effect, but he will remain on the board as a non-executive director, the company said.

Nick Beighton, who joined Asos in early 2009 as chief financial officer will take over the chief executive position – and his appointment was widely expected, reports the BBC.

Asos was founded in 2000 at the height of the dot-com boom. The company's name stands for As Seen on Screen because its garments emulate the look of celebrities, and it quickly expanded to include more fashion ranges. 

In 2001, Asos floated on the Alternative Investment Market with a value of £12 million. It has now grown into a global operation worth £6 billion and has offices and warehouses in the UK, Europe, North America and Asia.

Asos chairman Brian McBride thanked Mr Robertson for his extraordinary achievement in building up the online retailer from a small fashion start-up in 2000 to the business it is today.

He added that Mr Beighton had "unique experience" of the company, which had been built up over the last six years, and would equip him to drive the business to become "the world's leading online fashion retailer for twentysomethings".

Drop in profits

The last year and a half have been difficult for Asos, however, with difficulties attributed to a strong pound, a large investment programme and price cuts.

In march the company reported a ten per cent drop in first half profits. For the six months to February 28th, the company reported pre-tax profits of £18 million – down from £20.1 million the year earlier.

In 2014, the company also suffered a warehouse fire at one of its largest distribution centres – the company had to suspend trading while this was dealt with and it cost an estimated £30 million in lost sales.

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