ASOS CEO and co-founder Nick Robertson is stepping down following a torrid time for the once high-flying affordable fashion website, hit by increasing competition online and a warehouse fire last year.
These things happens in retail (on and off-line) these days, one minute you’re taking a humungous dividend and the next you’re selling British Home Stores for £1, as Arcadia’s Sir Philip Green can testify.
He began his career at Y&R moving on to Carat. He then used his product placement skills to start a company called Entertainment Marketing Group, supplying TV shows with branded products. This forged a connection between ‘celebrities’ and products in the fertile Robertson mind and he then set up a website called As Seen on Screen, which morphed into ASOS.
Earlier this year he sold shares in ASOS worth £20m and still owns nearly nine per cent of the £2.5bn company (although it’s getting smaller) worth around £200m.
Retail is in Robertson’s genes, his great grandfather was one Austin Reed it seems. Wonder what his bosses at Y&R and then Carat made of him? They probably thought he was mad to leave and do his own thing.