In the future, Zalando will have to do without a leading specialist in artificial intelligence.

Upon request, the online retailer confirmed that Ralf Herbrich had left the company at his own request at the end of August.

The 46-year-old had been head of data analysis and machine learning at Zalando since the beginning of last year and, as such, was located directly below the board level.

Bastian Benrath

Editor in business.

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The scientist headed several teams that are working on analyzing data on customer behavior on Zalando's platform in order, among other things, to create more personalized offers. These are considered key to Zalando's goal of triple the volume of goods sold through its platform by 2025. In addition to expanding into new markets, this requires that customers shop more often on the platform and spend more money on each purchase.

With more than 50 own patents and numerous scientific publications, Herbrich is one of the leading minds in machine learning in Europe. His engagement was a coup for Zalando, because the Berlin company recruited him from the industry leader Amazon. Herbrich had previously headed the global research area Artificial Intelligence there. The change is likely to have had something to do with Zalando's chief technology officer, Jim Freeman, who, as one of the developers of the Alexa voice assistant, had also previously moved from Amazon to Berlin.

Herbrich studied computer science at the Technical University of Berlin and received his doctorate in theoretical statistics in 2000 before doing research on artificial intelligence at Darwin College in Cambridge for several years.

He then worked for Microsoft and Facebook before moving to Amazon.

It is still unclear who will succeed Herbrich in the post at Zalando that was created for him at the time.

A spokeswoman did not want to comment on the background to his departure, this is up to him only. Zalando is very grateful to him for his contribution and wishes him all the best.

It is also not yet known where Herbrich is moving to.