The world's biggest clothing retailer Inditex which owns Zara is splitting its dual role of chief executive and chairman, leaving Pablo Isla to lead the company and appointing Carlos Crespo as new CEO as it looks to double down its digital strategy in driving sales growth.
The appointment reflects the key role of technology at Inditex, given the retailer's push to integrate online sales with its store network by focusing on large stores where customers might try on items to buy later online.
As CEO, Crespo led the integration of the company's online and physical stores with features like "click and collect" and the ability of customers to check online to see if an item was available in a nearby store. In his new role, Crespo, who has been with Inditex for 18 years will be responsible for technology, IT security, logistics, transportation, and sustainability amongst other areas in his new role.
Inditex said in a statement, “Carlos Crespo's track record within the group and his responsibilities as COO made this promotion the natural next step.”
The appointment will take effect in July, once approved by the board and shareholders. Meanwhile, Isla, who until now has held the positions of both Chairman and CEO, will continue as Executive Chairman. Crespo will work with Isla to define overall company strategy.
Inditex had separate roles for Chairman and chief executive until 2011 when then-CEO Isla took over as Chairman from founder Amancio Ortega. Ortega, who still continues to play an active role in the company.
While Inditex is regarded by investors as one of the best-performing apparel retailers, yet its earnings growth has come under pressure given the increasing competition it faces from online retailers like Amazon.com Inc. and Zalando SE. Inditex shares fell in March this year after the company reported the weakest earnings growth in five years.
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