Shop Direct has announced that incoming CEO Henry Birch will join the business on Monday 14th May.

Birch is set to take the reins of the UK’s second-largest pureplay digital retailer from interim CEO and group finance director Derek Harding.

Birch is currently chief executive officer of FTSE 250-listed Rank Group plc, which owns and operates Grosvenor Casinos and Mecca Bingo alongside several European gaming and casino businesses.

Liverpool-based Shop Direct operates digital department stores Very.co.uk, Littlewoods.com and VeryExclusive.co.uk.

“I’m thrilled to be joining as unique and ambitious a business as Shop Direct,” Birch said of the move.

“The company has been through an extraordinarily rapid and successful transformation over the last five years and flatly refuses to slow down.

“I’m looking forward to driving continued growth as Shop Direct continues to outpace its competition, and am excited to join the team to carve out the next chapter.”

Over the last four years he has helped the Rank Group through a strategic overhaul to create the UK’s largest multi-channel gaming operator with a fast-growing digital core. Revenues have climbed 15 per cent and profits 60 per cent in the last year alone.

Prior to joining Rank, Henry spent four years as CEO of William Hill Online, where he launched the company’s mobile business, driving 170 per cent growth in revenue and more than doubling operating profit.

He previously held management roles at Leisure & Gaming plc, BettingCorp, Time Warner, Turner Broadcasting and Riffage, an early digital music operator based in Silicon Valley.

He started his career working in the House of Commons and holds an MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business.