MILAN — The Yoox Net-a-porter group has appointed Deborah Lee as its chief people officer, a new role for the international online retailer. She will join the group executive team in January and will report to chief executive officer Federico Marchetti. Based at the YNAP London offices, Lee will manage and grow the global human resources team with direct reports in Milan, Bologna, New York, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Tokyo.
“Building an outstanding leadership team has been at the top of my agenda since our group was born close to a year ago and a lot of our energy went into identifying the perfect candidate for this crucial role,” Marchetti said. “Deborah has a proven track-record at the highest level in a successful tech-driven organization. This experience, coupled with her international background, will be invaluable. People are at the heart of this business and it is critical that we give them every opportunity to develop and grow for future success.”
Lee brings two decades of experience leading international HR functions for a number of BT Group’s largest organizations including heading up the Group Learning function. She also led the integration stream for BT Group’s acquisition of EE, the U.K.’s largest mobile network operator, for 12.5 billion pounds, or $16.3 billion at current exchange rate. Lee is also credited for introducing innovative HR practices that promote a flexible work-life balance, said YNAP.
Most recently, she served as chief HR officer at BT Global Services, a tech leader with a workforce of 18,000 providing services to global multinationals across 180 countries.
Lee studied in England at Imperial College London, in Italy at Bocconi University and in the U.S. at the University of Michigan. In 2013, she was selected as a Financial Times expert on “human transformation in the digital age” and is active on several think tanks and advisory panels.
During a capital markets day in July, Marchetti said that YNAP projected revenues of up to 4.1 billion euros, or $4.54 billion, in 2020. The group is also expecting its market share to grow from the current 10 percent to 11 to 12 percent by 2020.
In four years’ time, revenues are set to total somewhere between 3.7 billion euros, or $4.10 billion, and 4.1 billion euros at constant exchange, driven by a variety of factors including increased mobile phone shopping; the rollout of hard luxury brands on Net-a-porter and Mr Porter, and the expansion of private label collections on Mr Porter and Yoox.com.
“In terms of offices and people, we expect to hire a couple of hundred people in London and are expanding our offices here,” said Marchetti at the time, shortly after the Brexit vote. “All in all we believe in this market and in London and we’ll continue to grow here.”
In the first half, YNAP saw adjusted net profits leap 15.2 percent to 37 million euros, or $41.4 million at average exchange rates. First-half revenues also rose double-digits, climbing 13.3 percent to 897 million euros, or $1 billion. And the momentum is expected to continue in the second half.
The growth was fueled by the core in-season designer business, which includes Net-a-porter, Mr Porter, Porter, Thecorner and Shoescribe.
Prada, Tiffany, Moncler and Ermenegildo Zegna joined the in-season business line, and capsule collections from Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana, Chloé and Oscar de la Renta all launched in the second quarter, as well as Aspesi and Moncler Gamme Bleu. As of June 30, the multibrand in-season business line accounted for 54.6 percent of group sales.