October 19, 2009, 12:00 AM

Online luxury retailer Gilt Groupe hires a top marketing exec from Expedia

Carl Sparks will be the chief marketing officer at Gilt Groupe, which features 36-hour sales of designer fashions to 1.5 million registered consumers. Sparks has been with online travel site Expedia for the past five years.

Gilt Group, a web retailer that sells designer fashions in 36-hour sales to 1.5 million registered consumers using a members-only format, has named Carl Sparks chief marketing officer.

Sparks, who spent the last five years web travel specialist Expedia Inc., will be responsible for the company’s marketing direction, including brand strategy, product and service innovation and consumer marketing and insights. He will report to CEO Susan Lyne.

"Carl Sparks is a forward-thinking leader renowned in the industry for his innovative platforms, strong brand marketing skills and hands-on management style," Lyne says. "His vast experience in developing and spearheading highly-successful consumer marketing programs and his expertise in the online space will be invaluable as Gilt continues to expand its businesses and customer base.

Sparks’ most recent position at Expedia was general manager of Hotels.com North America. He previously was chief marketing officer for Expedia.com. Before Expedia, Sparks was vice president of direct business and brand for the auto finance division of financial services company Capital One.

"As the first flash-sale retailer in the U.S., Gilt Groupe has established and maintained a precedent for success in the online luxury retail industry," Sparks says. "I have long been impressed by the company`s consumer marketing and business models and it is an honor and privilege to join a team that leads such a widely respected, valued and innovative company."

Gilt Groupe was launched in November 2007.

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