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Departing ASOS CEO Nick Robertson is the ultimate media buyer made good

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.

But Robertson (below), 47, who started ASOS with Quentin Griffiths in 2000, can claim to be the UK’s (maybe the world’s) most successful and certainly richest former media buyer.

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.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.
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