Next boss joins board of Deliveroo

The chief executive of clothes retailer Next has joined the board of Deliveroo just days after the food company notched up a seven billion US dollar (£5 billion) valuation.

Lord Wolfson joined the delivery giant as a non-executive director this week, bringing decades of experience in the retail sector.

He has been the chief executive of Next since 2001 and remains the FTSE 100’s longest-serving chief executive.

“Simon will bring great knowledge and insight to the company and help us in our mission to become the definitive food company,” said Deliveroo chief executive Will Shu.

Next results
Next results

“We are excited about his appointment. We are looking forward to working with him as we continue to innovate, developing new tech tools to support restaurants, to provide riders with more work and to extend choice for customers, bringing them the food they love from more restaurants than ever before.”

The seven billion dollar valuation came from funds that Deliveroo raised from existing investors, led by Durable Capital Partners and Fidelity.

The money was intended for investment in its delivery-only kitchens around the world, expanding its grocery deliveries, and extending its subscription service.

Deliveroo has faced criticism in the past for its practices around hiring staff on gig economy contracts, which have few of the protections of other workers.

Next on the other hand has often been praised for the way it treats staff. However, it has also sometimes courted controversy.

In March, the company closed its warehouses after a backlash over getting staff to come in to pick online orders as the Covid-19 pandemic was in its earliest days.

On Monday, Lord Wolfson said: “I am delighted to be taking up this role. Deliveroo is an exciting, innovative and fast-growing company that, like Next, relies on advanced technology to deliver a market-leading proposition.

“I look forward to working with the talented leadership team on the many opportunities ahead.”