Following his promotion at Asos to chief operating officer, Drapers takes a look back at Nick Beighton’s career history and ask industry insiders what they think of the move.
Beighton started out life as an accountant at KPMG, where he cut his teeth for the first nine years of his career. His first taste of retailing came in 1999 when he joined clothing and homewares chain Matalan as head of finance. By the time he left in 2005 he had risen to board level as business change and IT director, and after four years on the board of night club group Luminar, he joined Asos as Chief Financial Officer in 2009.
Given Asos’s present difficulties, for which Beighton must take some responsibility, his appointment to a role right in the heat of the battle has been questioned. As Conlumino analyst Anusha Couttigane explains: “In the short term, as chief operating officer the key challenge is obviously to transform Asos’s profit trend. I think we have to remember that as CFO he has already largely held this responsibility”.
But the fact he has been so influential at the etailer since he arrived five years ago also means that there was really nobody else chief executive Nick Robertson could have turned to with enough Asos expertise to turn things around, and the new expanded role should give him more freedom – and power – than he has ever held before.
Verdict lead retail analyst Honor Westnedge says: “Bringing in someone new would almost be like starting from scratch. With this new job Beighton would have more authority to progress things; I think he and Nick Robertson will make a good partnership”.