Dragons' Den star Sara Davies has appointed a new CEO to run the national business she started in her university bedroom.

Now in the key role at Crafter's Companion, based at Newton Aycliffe, Mark Allsop was COO and CDO at Currys plc, where he was responsible for developing and leading the business’s data and technology strategy.

Sara, founder and creative director of the business, said: “The search for a new CEO was an extensive one. We needed somebody who completely understood our company and its values but also someone who has the tenacity and drive to support us in achieving our full potential. In Mark, I believe we have found the perfect fit.”

The County Durham-born Strictly star, who famously set up her craft venture from her university bedroom at just 21 years old, recently announced Crafter’s Companion will invest £500,000 in technology.

The business turned over £37.8m and currently employs more than 200 people.

Mark has extensive experience through a combination of digital transformation, technology and data insight in senior positions at NBCUniversal, Sony Pictures and Merlin Entertainments.

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In his new role, Mark will be responsible for overseeing the next phase of growth for Crafter’s Companion, which will focus on the combined multichannel strengths of its TV and eCommerce platforms, showcasing its products to millions of customers across Europe, the US and beyond.

Mark replaces former CEO Simon Davies, who is staying with the organisation as Executive Director, overseeing the company’s global wholesale teams and commercial partnerships.

The Northern Echo: Sara Davies with her special award at the BUSINESSiQ Awards eventSara Davies with her special award at the BUSINESSiQ Awards event (Image: Newsquest)

Mark said: “Crafter’s Companion is a fantastic business with an extremely passionate founder in Sara Davies. It’s rare to find a business that has such potential, ambition and capacity for growth. It was an unmissable opportunity to join as its new CEO.

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“I’m excited to lead a team of passionate crafting and commercial experts to deliver a truly omnichannel business, underpinned with an impressive brand portfolio, whilst bolstering our product and service offerings for millions of loyal customers.”

David Stern, chairman, added: “It’s a very exciting time at Crafter’s Companion, there are so many fantastic projects in the pipeline and plans to secure the future growth of the company. I’m thrilled that we have Mark on board.”