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Zalando appoints Puma veteran GM for Sports amid leadership shake-up

Chloe Burney
15 May 2024

European e-tail giant, Zalando, has today announced that Nina Graf-Vlachy has been appointed to the newly created role of General Manager for Sports, starting this August. The new role will enable a "stronger and more holistic approach" to the Sports category.

In her new role, Graf-Vlachy will report to Martin Rost, Senior Vice President of Customer Propositions at Zalando.

Previously, Nina Graf-Vlachy worked at Puma for over a decade and last served as their Managing Director of Central Europe. Before Puma, she was a Project Leader for BCG.

Zalando’s updated strategy, released in March, focuses on expanding into lifestyle propositions. Sports is category that Zalando wants to expand as sport is an increasingly important part of its customers’ lives.

Nina Graf-Vlachy added: "Zalando’s strategic direction is exciting for me as Sports plays a prominent part in it. I am happy to bring in my experience and industry knowledge, and join Zalando to lead the team on this journey to build up the Sports proposition for customers, in partnerships with brands."

The retailer is already continuously improving its Sports customer experience, for example with the introduction of the Stories section in the Sports hub that features inspirational content such as interviews with athletes. It has also recently introduced popular brands such as Lululemon, HOKA and On.

Just yesterday, the company announced a major shift in its leadership structure to help deliver the goals of its new strategy and grow its B2B and B2C channels.

Co-founder David Schneider will focus on building partner relationships and will move into a Management Board role, handing over his Co-CEO role to David Schröder. In addition, CPO Astrid Arndt will have the additional responsibility of strengthening Zalando’s corporate functions and CFO Dr. Sandra Dembeck will enable the successful execution of the ecosystem strategy with prudent financial management. All changes will come into effect as of 1 September.

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