As Chairman of ASOS and CEO of Amazon UK Brian has been at the forefront of digital retail. He led Amazon through a period of extreme growth, oversaw the acquisition of LoveFilm and the launch of Amazon Prime, and was instrumental in launching T-Mobile’s direct web and telesales customer-facing business. He now looks at how ecommerce businesses have grown and the vital role of social media in engaging with customers, and at lessons in leadership from Amazon and IBM.
Brian McBride is one of Britain’s foremost digital business leaders. For six years he served as Chairman of ASOS, the leading online fashion retailer. He is also Senior Non-Executive Director at electrical retailer AO.com and is Senior Adviser with Scottish Equity Partners. Outside his commercial interests he’s also a member of the Government’s Digital Advisory Board, which steers the digital delivery of Government services to the public.
Prior to joining Asos and helping them grow exponentially from small startup to leading player, Brian was CEO of amazon.co.uk for five years. During his time at the online retail giant their market grew hugely. They moved from primarily focusing on books and entertainment to providing everything from groceries to sports equipment. He also oversaw innovations like the Amazon Marketplace and Amazon Prime.
Brian has consistently led businesses that have revolutionised how consumers buy and what they expect from retailers. In presentations he looks at how this revolution came about, the rise of mobile and social media in retail, and how to engage with the new breed of customer. Drawing on experiences from some of the world’s best-known online retailers he considers the common themes across sectors.
By looking at the history of technology and online, from IBM mainframes to smartphones, Brian looks at the lessons from how industries have adapted (or not) to the threats and opportunities. He considers ecommerce growth, Jeff Bezos’ focus, the role of leadership and the vital part mobile and social media play. He also looks at the lessons retail disruption has for other industries.
Brian continues to work in the technology sector with non-exec roles at investment company Kinnevik, and the cycling retailer WiggleCVC. Before Amazon, Brian’s career included stints at Xerox and IBM, Dell Computers and as UK MD of T-Mobile. He has been a Non Executive Director of Celtic Football Club, at staffing company SThree, and at Computacenter. He’s also served as a Non Executive Director on the Board of the BBC and the Advisory Board of Huawei UK, and is a member of the Goverment’s Digital Advisory Board, which steers the digital delivery of government and public services.
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