Online retailer Zalando has confirmed that its supervisory board has reappointed David Schröder as chief operating officer to “continue building and scaling” its offering and enable growth.
In a statement, Zalando added that it was introducing an updated operating model, where Schröder would continue to further scale the company's European multi-channel logistics network. He will be tasked with “unlocking new growth opportunities” such as helping partners to boost their direct-to-consumer business across a variety of channels.
The move comes as Zalando’s chief business and product officer Jim Freeman will leave as planned when his term expires on March 31, 2023. Freeman has played an instrumental part in developing Zalando’s strategy focused on deepening customer relationships and helping to transform the online retailer into a “starting point for fashion” destination.
He leaves the company after helping Zalando become a more customer-oriented and scalable business, as well as developing and introducing an updated operating model to build even deeper relationships with customers and partners across its 25 markets.
Zalando’s Jim Freeman is to leave in March 2023
Cristina Stenbeck, chairperson of the Zalando Supervisory Board, said: “In recent years, Zalando has successfully reinforced its ambition to be the ‘Starting Point for Fashion’ and has introduced and expanded other business segments in addition to the Fashion Store. The updated operating model and corresponding organisation are a critical step for Zalando to further deliver on its strategic ambition and create long-term value for customers, partners, and shareholders in an even more agile and customer-centric way.
“We are absolutely thrilled to continue working with David Schröder as chief operating officer as he further scales Zalando’s unique capabilities and offerings. David had a tremendously profound impact on our business and his work is crucial to unlock new growth opportunities. The Supervisory Board also wishes to express its gratitude to Jim Freeman for his leadership and execution of the overall strategy.”
The company’s updated operating model is designed to bring the organisation “further in-line with its strategic ambitions,” added the retailer, to develop a deeper knowledge of local customers and different audiences, to ensure the right mix of offerings for each market.
Zalando also added that the move will “empower” its teams to build distinct compelling customer experiences and curate the most relevant assortment to give customers more and more reasons to come back.
Robert Gentz, co-chief executive at Zalando, added: “David Schröder has been an absolutely integral part of Zalando's success story since 2010 and together, we have reached many company milestones on the journey from a start-up to a company that now serves over 50 million customers through its pan-European infrastructure.
“I also would like to thank Jim, who is an incredible product leader, strategic mind, and trusted sparring partner. He has been crucial in making Zalando even more customer-minded, execution focused, and innovation driven – a task he took on over five years ago and that he has accomplished very successfully. We are grateful for his contributions to our journey during his time with Zalando, and we wish him all the best for his future pursuits.”
Freeman, who joined Zalando in 2018 first as senior vice president of technology and then as chief business and product officer, will work closely with the Zalando management board and senior leaders on his handover and “will remain close to the company thereafter”.