Astound Commerce appoints Michael Kahn as global CEO and expands into Spain and Portugal

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Astound Commerce, the world’s largest independent digital commerce specialist, has announced the appointment of Michael Kahn as global CEO, setting a course to accelerate growth, development and marketplace leadership in a rapidly evolving, digital-first global trading environment.  The appointment comes as Astound Commerce UK, which serves many of the UK and Europe’s leading brands and retailers, also announced the establishment of an office in Madrid, its headquarters for operations across Spain and Portugal. 

Astound Commerce has 20 years of digital commerce expertise, having opened its first office in San Francisco in 2000. This was followed by expansion into the UK, Central and Eastern Europe and Colombia and it now works with over 200 leading retailers and brands globally including boohoo, Nestle, Estee Lauder, L’Oreal, Puma, Space NK, Sally Beauty and Unilever.

With extensive professional experience in global operations and talent leadership, business strategy, development and expansion, as well as branding, marketing and communications, Kahn will help transform Astound Commerce as it enters its next 20 years of life. 

In his most recent role as global brand president at Digitas Worldwide, The Connected Marketing Agency (2017-2020), Kahn built a unified go-to-market strategy and team that led expansion of the Digitas’ network from 27 offices in 13 countries to over 50 offices in 30 countries in a two-year period, driving international agency growth and acceleration.

Based on a 40-year career filled with successes and a great many lessons learned, Kahn says he has developed a set of overarching operating principles and philosophies, which guide his actions every day: “My leadership approach is to connect, listen, learn, evaluate, ideate, synthesise, actualise and execute via ongoing collaboration and commitment and I feel great synergies with the leadership team at Astound Commerce. 

“Astound Commerce has established itself as a market leader in the digital commerce sphere, and I am honoured to join a company that encourages a growth mindset at all levels, embracing the idea that our best days and best work, at a company and individual level, always lie ahead.  This is especially relevant now given the rapidly evolving digital-first trading environment, further accelerated globally by covid-19, we operate in,” Kahn added.

Astound Commerce UK, which serves many of the UK and Europe’s leading brands and retailers, also announced the establishment of an office in Madrid, its headquarters for operations across Spain and Portugal.  The new Madrid team will be led by former Chief Digital Officer for global fashion brand, Pepe Jeans London, Daniel Carnerero, who was recently appointed to the senior leadership team earlier in September.

With 20 years’ experience delivering digital transformation for businesses in the UK and Europe, Carnerero will collaborate with Astound’s European HQ in London to grow the company’s customer base across the two territories.

The new office in Madrid will enable Astound to capitalise on opportunities in these two emerging markets, with the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic rapidly accelerating e-commerce in both countries. Retail e-commerce in Spain is predicted to grow at 22.9% in 2020 – the fastest rate across Western Europe – with e-commerce sales increasing to reach €38 billion by 20231.

Astound Commerce UK managing director, Terry Hunter, commented: “Bringing Daniel on board demonstrates our ambition for this region and our belief in the opportunities it presents. It’s a market that, from a retail perspective, is keenly aware of the need to pivot to a multichannel model to meet changing consumer behaviour with many brands in the region only just starting their digital journey. Daniel’s cultural knowledge, awareness and industry expertise will be crucial to leading the charge in developing the retail landscape there, as well as educating brands about the digital opportunities that exist.”

Carnerero added: “The Spanish and Portuguese markets present enormous opportunities for Astound as retailers look for the consultancy and technical expertise needed to transition from the traditional physical store to a modern multichannel model. While Spain and Portugal have suffered greatly because of Covid-19, they both have rich and diverse retail sectors and it’s a great privilege to be at the forefront of delivering much needed digital transformation in the region.”

“My role at the company will be to act as an ambassador both for the region and the e-commerce industry as a whole. In addition to engaging with prospective customers and promoting digital commerce in the region, I’m excited to see how Astound can help transform brands’ perspective on boundaryless, 21st century online retail.”