Shutterfly hires Amazon’s U.K. chief as its CEO and president

March 17, 2016 05:33 PM

Shutterfly Inc. appointed Inc.’s U.K. manager Christopher North as its president and CEO, starting May 31.

The e-retailer of photo books and personalized products, No. 50 in the Internet Retailer 2015 Top 500 Guide, said in December that previous leader Jeffrey Housenbold would step down in February. Interim CEO Phil Marineau will lead Shutterfly until the end of May.

North has worked at Amazon U.K. since 2006, serving as the U.K. managing director since 2011. Under his leadership, Amazon's U.K. revenue grew to more than $9 billion in 2015, Shutterfly says.

"With Shutterfly's dedication to customers, incredible team and track record of innovation, I believe the company is strongly positioned to grow and increase profitability in order to drive shareholder value,” North says. Amazon is No. 1 in the Internet Retailer 2015 Top 500 and the Europe 500.

While Shutterfly’s sales were up 16.7% year over year through the first nine months of 2015 to $511.3 million, losses continue to grow. Shutterfly reported in its Q3 2015 earnings filing a net loss of $132 million through the first nine months, down from $107.5 million during the same time last year.

North’s compensation will be tied to Shutterfly’s financial results and shareholders’ interests, says Brian Swette, chair of the governance committee of the board of directors and head of the search committee. North starts with a yearly $700,000 salary, a $1.5 million transition bonus, 150,000 shares of Shutterfly restricted stock and a stock-option grant to buy another 850,000 shares that vest over four years, Shutterfly says in a regulatory filing.

"We designed a competitive compensation package for Chris that aligns a substantial amount of his compensation with the creation of long-term value for our shareholders,” Swette says.

Housenbold’s exit, announced in December, was the second change to Shutterfly’s executive suite in recent months. In late October, the company named Mike Pope  as its new chief financial officer, replacing Brian Regan.

"We believe the decision for an independent Shutterfly to pursue a more growth-oriented chief executive makes sense, particularly given Mr. North's background managing a sizeable and complex e-commerce business (UK revenue grew from $5.3B in FY11 to $9B in FY15, a 14% CAGR)," Colin Sebastian, e-commerce analyst at Robert W. Baird & Co., wrote in a research note. "Prior to joining Amazon, Mr. North worked in senior roles at publishers Phaidon Press and HarperCollins, in addition to his role as a media and entertainment consultant for Booze Allen & Hamilton, experience which should collectively provide a framework for understanding Shutterfly's core consumer business." 




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