Ian Rogers, chief digital officer at LVMH — the French conglomerate that holds the Louis Vuitton, Moët and Hennessy brands — is leaving to serve as the chief experience officer at Ledger, a tech company that safeguards digital assets like cryptocurrency. The departure ends a five-year run at LVMH, according to an announcement on Medium.
Rogers will oversee Ledger's business-to-consumer side, including product, marketing and sales. In the new role, Rogers plans to bring technical expertise and experience transitioning emerging technologies into the mainstream, according to the blog post.
With Rogers out the door, Reuters reports that LVMH will promote Michael David to serve as its chief omnichannel officer, citing an internal memo the wire service obtained.
Rogers noted in a blog post that traditional firms, including LVMH, saw the digital side of their operations as separate from the rest of their business. Rogers's time at the luxury fashion company was spent overseeing its implementation of data and artificial intelligence, which will increase customer satisfaction, reduce waste and grow sales in the foreseeable future, Rogers said in the blog post.
"After twenty years building software and never once using the word 'Digital,' I was suddenly 'The Digital Guy' in an industry built on selling physical products in physical stores," Rogers wrote. "I quickly realized that this was the problem, traditional industries had put the Internet in a 'technical' silo and completely missed the fact that their customers had grown an extension of their hand, a powerful pocket computer with a high-speed Internet connection."
Rogers told the Financial Times the crypto space at this point reminds him of the music business in the early 2000s, at the start of the streaming era.
“There is an inevitable change coming, but it’s the very beginning, so not everything will be easily predictable," he said. "But these are very fast-growing markets, so that’s where I like to be.”
Ledger, founded in 2013, sells hardware security products to help users of cryptocurrencies and blockchain applications secure their digital assets. It has sold about 2 million digital wallets across 165 countries, according to the Financial Times.
While consumers account for most of Ledger's sales, the company in 2018 began marketing a product called Ledger Vault to hedge funds and other institutional investors.
“We want to grow by bringing new features to the technology to make it more secure and easier to use,” Pascal Gauthier, Ledger’s chief executive, told the Financial Times. “I need help to scale the business and take it to the next level, and Ian has the experience, leadership, vision and management skills to help.”
Gauthier said Ledger planned to hire more than 100 people next year to expand its headcount to 250. The company has reportedly raised $87 million from venture investors.
In addition to LVMH, Under Armour, Bed Bath & Beyond and J.C. Penney have shaken up their executive ranks recently. Some retailers, such as Levi's, have hired executives specifically to modernize their digital strategies.
Digital strategies may hold the key to future success as in-store foot traffic dropped by 52.1% on Black Friday, according to research from Sensormatic Solutions.