• Henry Birch has been named CEO of online fashion retailer Shop Direct.
  • Birch currently serves as CEO of Rank Group plc, which owns and operates Grosvenor Casinos and Mecca Bingo.
  • He will join Shop Direct later this year and replaces Alex Baldock who stepped down in January. 

Online fashion retailer Shop Direct has named Henry Birch as CEO, following the departure of Alex Baldock earlier this year.

Birch, who currently serves as CEO of Rank Group, which owns and operates Grosvenor Casinos and Mecca Bingo alongside several European gaming and casino businesses, will join the retailer later this year.

Prior to joining Rank, Birch spent four years as CEO of William Hill Online, where he launched the company's mobile business, driving 170% growth in revenue and more than doubling operating profit. He has also previously held management roles at Leisure & Gaming, BettingCorp, Time Warner, Turner Broadcasting and Riffage, an early digital music operator based in Silicon Valley.

He succeeds Baldock who stepped down in January, leaving finance chief Derek Harding to act as CEO in the interim. Harding will continue in his role as group finance director thereafter.

Chairman Aidan Barclay said: "Henry is an experienced CEO and an exceptional leader. From both Rank Group and William Hill Online, he brings a track record of reshaping businesses to become more customer-focused, data-driven and technology-enabled while simultaneously driving outstanding financial performance."

Shop Direct, the UK's second largest pureplay retailer, which operates digital department stores Very.co.uk, Littlewoods.com and VeryExclusive.co.uk, is currently undergoing a "digital transformation".

In January, the retailer delivered robust Christmas results, despite being up against strong comparatives, booking a 6.3% rise year-on-year in group revenue, driven by 16.8% growth at Very, its largest and fastest growing retail brand.

Shop Direct delivers robust sales, appoints interim CEO