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18. Alex Baldock, chief executive, Shop Direct

Alex Baldock

Position last year: 30

Under Alex Baldock’s leadership Shop Direct, and its key fashion platform, have had a storming year which supports his rapid rise up the Top 100 listings. Leading the etailing pack, Baldock has steered Shop Direct to a 78% surge in full year pre-tax profit to £71.7m in the 12 months to June 3, as well as pushing a market-leading personalisation strategy for Very, focused around the website’s homepage, product pages and search functions, which was unveiled in March.

Identifying this early on as the the future direction for online shopping, Baldock’s strategy has meant Very can now offer more than 1.2 million different versions of the website depending on individual shoppers’ preferences, which he predicts will add £20m in sales this year. The success of Very also led to the launch of luxury sister site Very Exclusive in February offering more than 150 brands.

As has been the case over the last couple of years, Baldock is ensuring that Shop Direct really is the etailer to be watching next year.

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