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Robert Gentz and David Schneider

Co-Founders & Co-Chief Executives, Zalando

Zalando’s co-founders have beaten back intense competition to build Europe’s largest online fashion company.


Robert Gentz and David Schneider are the co-founders and co-CEOs of Zalando. 

In 2008, the university friends teamed up to launch the online shopping platform just days before the financial crisis hit. Despite the inauspicious timing and intense competition, 14 years later the company has established a dominant position as Europe’s largest online fashion retailer.

Gentz and Schneider, who jointly run the company, have not seen their ambition dulled by time or current market challenges. The company has set its sights on capturing more than 10 percent of Europe’s fashion market and has set a goal to exceed sales of €30 billion ($30.4 billion) on its site by 2025, more than double levels hit in 2021.  

To spur growth, the company has bet on expanding the ranges it offers that are classified as more sustainable and is looking to build out brand partnerships and fashion clout. Earlier this year, the company acquired tastemaking streetwear platform Highsnobiety, a move which it hopes will help up its cultural cachet and reach young consumers.




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What is The BoF 500?

The people shaping the global fashion industry, curated by the editors of The Business of Fashion, based on nominations and on-the-ground intelligence from around the world.