The Very Group poaches BBC digital head as CIO

Online retailer The Very Group has hired BBC digital chief Matt Grest as its chief information officer (CIO).

He will become part of the group’s executive board and report to CEO Henry Birch.

He will lead The Very Group’s 350-strong technology team as it continues to transform its technology and platforms and further improve ways of working to deliver positive changes to the customer experience.

Birch said of the appointment: “Technology and data underpin everything we do, including the digital journey that keeps our customers coming back to Very. Matt is a talented technologist and leader, with a track record for driving strong performance through tech and new ways of working.

“Under his stewardship, I am confident we will continue to deliver the platforms we need to support our ambitions and make changes to the customer experience faster than ever before.”

Grest added: “The Very Group has a history of reinvention powered by technology and this is an exciting time to be joining the business. With more people shopping online than ever before and a continued appetite for flexible ways to pay, technology and data has never been more important.”

Grest will join the retail firm on 21 December 2020.

At the BBC, he leads a 400-strong team of technologists as director of digital platforms, and oversaw the transformation of the corporation’s digital and broadcast products into a fully integrated tech platform.

Combining content and user data with audience personalisation, that platform powers the BBC’s flagship products - including iPlayer and Sounds - and the syndication of content to a weekly global audience of 500m users.

Prior to the BBC, he was at Sky, where as digital platform director he was responsible for IT delivery and transformation across the company, including for Sky Sports, Sky News and Sky.com.

He also led the creation of Sky’s digital hub in Leeds, building a team of 650 people within 18 months and implementing new agile ways of working.

With over 20 years of experience, he has also held a range of senior technology roles with Yorkshire Building Society, the NHS and Plusnet.

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