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April 15, 2021updated 19 Apr 2021 3:28pm

SIGNA Sports United bolsters leadership on top of ecommerce boom

By Eric Johansson

SIGNA Sports United, the German online shopping company, has topped up its leadership team with five new hires just as ecommerce is enjoying a boom thanks to Covid-19.

SIGNA Sports United is the European parent company for about 80 webshops in 17 countries. The Berlin-headquartered business specialises in online shopping across categories such as biking, tennis, outdoor, team sports and athleisure. Its brands include Fahrrad.de, Bikester, Probikeshop, Campz, Addnature, Outfitter and Stylefile. The company itself was founded in 2018 as a subsidiary of the Austrian real estate giant SIGNA Holdings.

It now plans to expand its business further across the globe, having recently entered the Japanese market in partnership with AEON and the US market through its subsidiary Tennis-Point’s acquisition of Midwest Sports.

To this end, SIGNA Sports United has today announced a smattering of new hires to its leadership team. These include a new CFO, chief of staff, chief people officer, chairman and president of Tennis-Point North America, and a new MD of Tennis-Point Europe.

Stephan Zoll, CEO of SIGNA Sports United, will spearhead the team. Before joining the company in 2018, he’d clocked up experience as the VP and managing director of eBay in Germany. He has also worked as the online head of the Sears trading group in the USA.

“We are thrilled to welcome such exceptional talent to the SIGNA Sports United team,” Zoll said. “Each of our new executives brings decades of experience and unique perspectives that will help drive the company’s vision for unmatched customer and client service.”

Alex Johnstone will join the company as its new CFO. He has previously served as a member of Citi’s TMT investment banking group for over a decade.

The new chief of staff Simone Kreyer has previously clocked up experience working at McKinsey & Company. She joins SIGNA Sports United from Amazon where she headed the ecommerce giant’s retail hardlines operations and initiatives in Germany.

Dorit Schindler will serve as the company’s new chief people officer. Schindler most recently worked as the director of people and organisation at Zalando, the multi-national fashion and lifestyle ecommerce company.

After five years as MD at Tennis-Point Europe, Sascha Beyer will relocate to the US this summer to become the new chairman and president at Tennis-Point NAM.

Bernhard Kloth will take up the mantle of MD of Tennis-Point Europe after having previously worked at the consultancy AlixPartners.

The news comes as the coronavirus crisis has accelerated the move away from brick-and-mortar stores and towards online shopping.

“Covid-19 has led to an unprecedented number of high-street closures and caused foot traffic to fall, leaving shoppers with little choice but to purchase items online, ” GlobalData market analysts said in a recent report. “Even consumers that had previously been reluctant [to] shop online have embraced ecommerce.”

While the researchers expected that online demand will remain strong post-pandemic, they noted that ecommerce companies face two major challenges.

“The first is making the industry more sustainable,” the researchers said. “Companies must tackle waste, make deliveries more energy-efficient and improve working conditions. The second challenge is adapting to new regulations. As EU and US regulators turn on big tech, the winners will be those companies that avoid reputational damage by implementing new regulations quickly while remaining profitable.”

The news about the new hires also comes as venture financing into the German technology sector totalled $221.35m in February 2021, according to GlobalData’s deals database.