Retail Movers & Shakers

A week does not go by without a significant promotion or appointment within retail companies — including merchants, industry associations as well as solution providers. Retail TouchPoints presents these updates via the Retail Movers & Shakers section, spotlighting the individuals and companies announcing important new executive developments.

Symphony Commerce Appoints Ken Fine As CEO

Symphony Commerce, a Commerce as a Service (CaaS) platform provider, has named Ken Fine CEO. Fine succeeds Harish Abbott, who will transition to lead the company’s long-term business strategy and product innovation efforts, and who will have a place on the Board.

A&F Promotes Merchandising Chief To CEO

Abercrombie & Fitch (A&F) is filling out its C-suite with internal talent, promoting President and Chief Merchandising Officer Fran Horowitz to the CEO spot. Her ascension ends a two-year period when the company was run by an office of the chairman that included Horowitz and Executive Chairman Arthur Martinez. This management arrangement was instituted following the departure of A&F's long-time CEO Mike Jeffries in December 2014, but it will now be dissolved. Additionally, CFO Joanne Crevoiserat has been named Chief Operating Officer. Both appointments are effective immediately.

Ralph Lauren CEO Larsson Steps Down

2017 may be barely a month old, but retail CEO departures already have been shaking up the industry. Now, Ralph Lauren CEO Stefan Larsson has announced he will be stepping down from his position in May 2017. His departure was a mutual decision between Larsson and Executive Chairman and Chief Creative Officer Ralph Lauren, attributed to conflicting views. Larsson was appointed CEO in October 2015 after Lauren stepped down. He joined the company after serving as Global President of Old Navy. 

A&F Hires New CMO As Brand Seeks Turnaround

Abercrombie & Fitch has appointed Will A. Smith as its new Chief Marketing Officer. He will be responsible for all brand, creative and digital marketing, reporting to President and Chief Merchandising Officer Fran Horowitz. The retailer announced the move only four days after cutting 150 jobs at its company headquarters in New Albany, Ohio as part of cost reduction initiatives. Over the first nine months of the 2016 fiscal year, the company saw net losses of $44.8 million on sales of $2.29 billion, a top-line decline of 4.8%.

Office Depot Taps Former Lenovo EVP Gerry P. Smith As CEO

Office Depot has appointed Gerry P. Smith as CEO. Smith will succeed current CEO Roland Smith (no relation), who announced his retirement in August 2016. In his new role, Smith will focus on delivering exceptional customer experiences and driving innovation and growth in products and services. It’s been a bumpy ride for the office supply retailer, as Office Depot has been struggling to stay afloat amidst lackluster sales, store closing plans and a failed merger with rival Staples. The retailer plans to conduct a large executive reorganization to align with its three-year strategic plan in an effort to cut annual costs. Recently, Office Depot announced that it will sell its European business to The Aurelius Group.

JDA Names Tyco Executive As New CEO

JDA Software Group, Inc., announced that Chairman and CEO Bal Dail is stepping down, and that the company’s Board of Directors has appointed former Tyco executive Girish Rishi as the new CEO. The leadership change is effective immediately; however, Dail will remain at JDA through Q1 2017 to help ensure a seamless leadership transition. He will also continue as a Senior Advisor to New Mountain Capital. “I am excited to lead JDA as its new CEO, and I thank Bal for his leadership and impact across all aspects of the business,” said Rishi. “Our customers are undergoing enormous change with omnichannel, new dynamics in the global supply chain and automation at the edge with a trend toward the Internet of Things (IoT), mobility and analytics.”

DXL Mens Apparel Names New Chief Digital and Information Officer

Former Brooks Brothers executive Sahal Laher has been named SVP, Chief Digital and Information Officer of Destination XL Group, Inc. Laher will report to CEO David Levin and will be the principal architect and leader of DXL’s digital commerce strategies and IT/MIS Operations. He will also be a member of the Company’s Executive Committee. “With his track record of leading high profile brands, Sahal is poised to enhance engagement with our core shopper across all channels of distribution,” said Levin in a statement.

MaxMedia's Laura Davis-Taylor Named To Digital Signage Federation Board

MaxMedia, a digital retail experience agency, has announced the appointment of EVP of Customer Experience Laura Davis-Taylor to the Digital Signage Federation (DSF) Board of Directors. Davis-Taylor brings more than two decades of digital experience as an acclaimed author and industry speaker, and will bring a unique perspective on how retailers can more effectively leverage digital signage to enhance the customer experience.

Banana Republic President Resigns After Poor Holiday Results

After another disastrous holiday season, Gap Inc.’s Banana Republic label is searching for its next president. Andi Owen, presently the Global Brand President of Banana Republic, will leave the brand in February after 25 years working within the Gap brands. Gap CEO Art Peck will directly oversee the Banana Republic brand during the search. In recent years, Banana Republic has been the glaring weak link of Gap Inc.’s three retail brands, which also include Gap and Old Navy. While Gap had a 1% comparable sales increase in December 2016 and Old Navy had an impressive 12% increase, Banana Republic saw these revenues dip 7% — a year after they dipped by 9%.

Lane Bryant CEO Heasley Departs

For the third time in as many weeks, a female retail CEO is stepping down. Linda Heasley, CEO of women’s clothing retailers Lane Bryant and Catherine's, has left the company just four months after a key promotion, according to the New York Post. Heasley became CEO of Lane Bryant in 2013 and was promoted to Chief Executive of Catherine's, another plus-size brand, four months ago.  Ascena Retail, the owner of Lane Bryant and Catherine's, confirmed Heasley's departure to the New York Post. The company said Heasley “resigned and is no longer with the business” effective January 18, but declined to give a reason for her departure. 

Target Promotes From Within To Fill CMO Spot

Target has finally filled its C-level marketing position, vacant since Jeff Jones left in September 2016 to join Uber as President of Ridesharing. The retailer promoted SVP of Marketing Rick Gomez to EVP and CMO, effective Jan. 29. He will report to Target Chairman and CEO Brian Cornell and serve as a member of the company's Leadership Team. Gomez is the latest executive to be promoted to a high-level slot from within a retail organization. Since December, Save Mart, lululemon, Staples, Rue21, and Nordstrom have all brought players up from their own minor league teams, rather than seeking talent from other "clubs." These brands also have not reached outside the retail industry for their newest crop of leaders.

eBags Co-Founder Joins NRF Board Of Directors

The National Retail Federation (NRF) Board of Directors has elected its newest member, eBags Co-Founder and EVP Peter Cobb. Cobb will serve a three-year term in the role. Cobb has previous experience in a major role at NRF, as the former chairman of the trade association’s digital branch, He also formerly served as a chairman of the Travel Goods Association, which presented him with the TGA Award in 2009 for outstanding service to the travel goods industry.

Christopher & Banks CEO And Board Chair Depart

On the heels of a disappointing holiday, Christopher & Banks announced the departure of its President and CEO LuAnn Via, and its Board Chairwoman Lisa Wardell. The move stays true to the recent trend of retail CEO turnover and Via becomes the second high-profile female CEO to lose her position in 2017. The company lowered its guidance for Q4, blaming lower traffic, softness in the women's apparel market and the weather. The most significant declines came in the last two full weekends before Christmas, when sales fell by approximately $4.5 million according to the company. Via, hired as CEO in November 2012, has been replaced by Joel Waller, who was appointed interim President, CEO and a member of the board. The retailer plans to engage a national search firm to help it find a permanent chief executive. 

True Fit Names Former Demandware Exec As Chief Retail Officer

Footwear and apparel discovery platform True Fit has appointed Troy Brown as its Chief Retail Officer. In this role Brown will lead True Fit’s go-to-market team and drive the global growth of the company’s retail partnerships, overseeing all aspects of sales, delivery and client success. Brown will be responsible for the growth of True Fit’s SaaS solutions including the new data-driven personality platform, Discovery.
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