The luxury flash sale website Gilt has named Tracey Weber as its new Chief Operating Officer, effective September 3. She is the first to take on the position since 2010, when a three-year-old Gilt restructured its team to operate without one.
Weber was previously Citibank’s Managing Director of North America Internet and mobile and global product. This follows the appointment of CEO Michelle Peluso, who took over for founder Kevin Ryan in February. Ryan is now Gilt’s Chairman.
The last Gilt COO was Jen Carr-Smith, now the SVP – COO Direct at J.Crew, who held the position from 2008 to 2010. When Peluso became CEO, however, she felt that it was the right time to fill the role.
When I spoke with Peluso on Tuesday, she cited Weber’s international experience working with Travelocity on its expansion in Latin America, her digital focus at Citibank, and her overall operational skills as key reasons for bringing her on board.
“She brings a lot of smart e-commerce experience. In the digital world, every single day you’re having to be exceptional. Execution is so important… She has just grown up with those skills at different companies.”
Peluso and Weber have worked together in various capacities for over 15 years, at Boston Consulting Group, Citigroup, where Peluso was the chief marketing and Internet officer, and at Travelocity. At Travelocity, Weber held the roles of COO and President, North America, while Peluso was named CEO after a tenure as COO.
As Peluso described it, Weber’s skill set is well suited to Gilt’s overall plan for the coming months. The site will be focusing in particular on personalization of the shopping process, international expansion, and mobile, which Peluso said now accounts for 44% of the site’s revenue. Gilt distributes to 160 countries and is prioritizing growth in its ten biggest markets, among them Canada, Australia, Korea, China, Dubai, and Russia.
“In the past period, we’ve seen some nice growth, and in the past three quarters the rate of growth has been 50% higher than in previous quarters,” Peluso said.
She credited a focus on marketing as the cause of that revenue growth. Since Peluso came on, Gilt has also started alternative merchandising with a new category for vintage accessories and rolled out personal sales on products curated specifically for each user.
Gilt has gotten along without a COO for some time now, but flash sales sites have hit something of a rough patch, with other sites like Fab getting out of the game entirely. If Peluso is going to continue to grow the company as she has done for the last six months, it makes sense to beef up her team with a COO she knows and trusts.
[Image from American Banker]