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Zalando co-founder David Schneider steps down as Co-CEO

By Danielle Wightman-Stone


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Zalando SE Management Board Credits: Zalando

European fashion and lifestyle e-tailer Zalando has confirmed that its co-founder David Schneider is stepping down as co-chief executive officer to focus on group-wide strategic partnerships and brand relations.

Schneider is handing over his role as co-chief executive officer to David Schröder, Zalando’s current chief operating officer, who has been part of the e-tailer’s senior management team since 2010, serving as chief financial officer until 2022 and senior vice president convenience until 2019.

Schröder will operate as co-chief executive officer alongside Zalando co-founder Robert Gentz, who is continuing in his current co-chief executive officer role. Zalando stated that Schröder will be responsible for scaling the business-to-business (B2B) growth, as well as further developing Zalando’s unique capabilities and infrastructure, and Gentz will focus on expanding the e-tailers business-to-consumer (B2C) growth to make the Berlin-based online retailer “the go-to-destination for quality fashion, lifestyle shopping and inspiration”.

Schneider’s new role will see him focusing on building partner relationships across Zalando's B2C and B2B ambitions and on further positioning the Zalando brand.

On the management changes, Schneider, who co-founded Zalando with Gentz in 2008, said in a statement: “One of Zalando’s strengths has always been to adapt our strategy and rotate the roles and responsibilities of its strong leadership team to make sure everyone complements each other and serves the ever-changing needs of customers and partners.

“We are thrilled that David Schröder, who has been an integral part of Zalando's success story since the early days in 2010, will take on the co-CEO role to scale our B2B growth vector. On a personal note, I’m excited to focus even more on serving the needs of partners, lifting our deep partnerships across the industry to the next level.”

Zalando makes management changes to support ‘ecosystem’ strategy

The changes have been announced to support Zalando’s new 'ecosystem' strategy announced in March, designed to target a larger share of the fashion e-commerce market by developing both its B2B and B2C businesses. The new approach it states will help it drive growth, offer the best shopping experience in fashion and lifestyle, as well as elevate existing categories such as sports and kids and family while building the B2B arm into a multi-billion-euro business.

To assist its new strategy, the e-tailer also announced that from September 1, chief people officer Astrid Arndt would take on additional responsibilities to strengthen Zalando’s corporate functions, while chief financial officer Sandra Dembeck will be responsible for driving the strategy through “prudent financial management that allows both strategic investments in Zalando's long-term growth and continues the company's continuous margin expansion”.

Kelly Bennett, chairperson of the Zalando supervisory board, added: “15 years after Zalando was founded, new commercial opportunities are opening up as consumers and partners have new expectations and needs.

“The adjusted management board responsibilities will help this strong group of executives and Zalando’s first-class teams from around 140 countries execute the ecosystem strategy in the most impactful way and embrace the exciting opportunities ahead of them.”

David Schneider
Executive Management
Zalando SE