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Department store retailer House of Fraser appoints CIO

British department store brand House of Fraser announces appointment of Julian Burnett as chief information officer

Department store group House of Fraser has announced the appointment of Julian Burnett as CIO.

Burnett, who worked as chief technology officer (CTO) at John Lewis from 2012 to 2015, will begin his position at the retailer on 5 October 2015 with the aim of continuing the brand's technology push.

He will be responsible for House of Fraser’s technology systems across the whole of the organisation, and will ensure the firm's IT strategy and delivery meets the business's needs.

Burnett will also be tasked with ensuring the company’s IT strategy remains on track to develop as a multi-channel retailer.

“We are delighted to announce Julian’s appointment and look forward to welcoming him to the House of Fraser team. His expertise and experience will be invaluable,” said House of Fraser CEO Nigel Oddy.

The retailer’s IT function has had a variable history, with the role of IT director being cut in 2007 after long-serving Frank Berridge retired, leaving the director of systems development and the head of computer services to take a joint role in leading the IT push.

In early 2010 House of Fraser signed a seven-year contract with Capgemini UK to run the retailer’s entire IT operation, to tap into skills and capabilities it deemed too expensive to support in-house such as management of datacentre services, applications support and development, service desk and desktop support.

In the past year House of Fraser has experimented with several digital initiatives to push forward its multi-channel capabilities, such as deploying beacon-enabled mannequins for customer engagement and launching mobile stores.

Burnett – whose previous experience in transforming retailers using technology also came as CTO of Sainsbury's, where he led IT strategy, investment, delivery, architecture and innovation – will be reporting directly to CEO Oddy and replaces interim CIO Peter Marsden, who stepped in after Uday Kotla departed earlier in 2015.

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