ASOS chief shares secrets of £2billion success

20 March 2013

ASOS chief shares secrets of £2billion success

Professor Nick Robertson

Leading figures from the fashion industry gathered at GCU London to recognise the achievements of online fashion pioneer, Professor Nick Robertson.

The CEO of is one of the biggest names in the global fashion industry. In 2012, he topped the Drapers 100 most influential people list, and last week ASOS was named E-Retailer of the Year at the Retail Week Awards.

His inaugural Professorial Lecture at GCU London - ‘ASOS: Retail in the New Age’ - was packed with industry figures, students, GCU alumni and staff to hear his inspirational £2billion success story.

International Fashion Marketing and Luxury Brand Marketing students were also given the opportunity to attend an exclusive Q&A session about his career. Professor Robertson started out in 1987 with advertising agency Young and Rubicam before moving to Carat, the UK’s largest media planning and buying agency. In 2000, he co-founded ASOS.

Professor Robertson said: “I was delighted to be able to deliver my inaugural Professorial Lecture about retail in the new age to students, staff and alumni at GCU London. The University has a fantastic reputation and the calibre of its graduates is very high. I hope my lecture gave a greater insight into the world of online retailing, as well as starting up on your own. I’m honoured at how many people came along to hear me speak.”

Head of GCU London, Stephen Holt, said: “Professor Robertson is a highly respected figure in the fashion retailing industry and we were honoured to have him deliver his inaugural Professorial Lecture at our London campus.

“It was fantastic to hear first-hand his experiences working his way through the industry, starting out at an advertising agency to co-founding a company that is now valued at £2billion on the London Stock Exchange. Students, alumni and staff found him to be a true inspiration.”

In late 2011, Professor Robertson was awarded an OBE for his achievements in the world of fashion retailing. ASOS has been credited for pioneering online fashion in the UK and now increasingly on an international stage. Today ASOS has country specific sites in the US, France, Germany, Spain, Italy and Australia as well as the UK. Last year, the company opened its first international office in Sydney, Australia, with a second office following in New York. Further offices have opened in Lille, France and Berlin, Germany.

Professor Robertson’s inaugural Professorial Lecture is the latest in a string of events at GCU London featuring high profile figures from the fashion, luxury brand and marketing industries. Brian Duffy, then President and Chief Operating Officer of Polo Ralph Lauren Europe, delivered a Professorial Lecture on marketing in the global luxury market. Susan Gregory, Head of Food at Nestlé, spoke about working with blue chip companies and building a brand, and Tom Lewis, founder of clothing brand UTILE, shared his insights into building an online clothing brand.

Professor John Wilson, Executive Dean and Pro Vice-Chancellor of Glasgow School for Business and Society, said: “Professor Robertson is internationally recognised as a fashion business leader of outstanding talent, skill and imagination.

“His company, ASOS, is at the forefront of the digital revolution within the global fashion sector. As an Honorary Professor in Fashion at Glasgow Caledonian University, we knew that he would provide an inspirational lecture and invaluable guidance for our students, staff and alumni who attended. And it came as no surprise that so many other industry figures were also keen to attend.”