Best Buy CDO Departs For AT&T; Replaced By Former CVS CDO

Best Buy has named Brian Tilzer as its new Chief Digital Officer (CDO), filling the position left by Bala Subramian, who has joined AT&T as Chief Digital Officer, according to GeekWire. Brian Tilzer was previously Chief Digital Officer at CVS Caremark.

Prior to working at CVS, Tilzer led strategy and e-Commerce operations at Staples and Linens ‘n Things. He also held positions at Accenture, where he helped retailers implement growth and performance improvement programs.

Subramanian was at Best Buy for nearly six years, initially as Chief Technology Officer. He oversaw the retailer’s efforts to build its e-Commerce footprint, by using existing stores as both a distribution network and as showrooms for shoppers to test products. He was previously a technology executive at T-Mobile for 15 years.


The CDO title is becoming more familiar in the business world. A June 2017 study by PwC found that 19% of the top 2,500 public companies have a title equivalent to Chief Digital Officer, and 60% have been hired since 2015, according to strategy + business. Approximately 40% of leaders with this title are C-level executives.

Within retail, the need for omnichannel services and data analysis has boosted the visibility and importance of the CDO role. “We see digital as integral,” said Gurmeet Singh, Chief Digital Officer at 7-Eleven in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “In fact, what’s going on is not a digital transformation, it’s a business transformation that’s enabled by digital. This is the most disruptive time in retail since the invention of the UPC in the 1970s, so we are constantly researching and developing to solve our customers’ problems.”

BJ’s Wholesale Club has been reaping the success of its digital initiatives, which have positioned the retailer to launch an IPO. The retailer’s focus on its digital offerings is based on what it calls the “5 S’s,” which stand for Speed, Simplicity, Scalability, Support and Security, according to Chief Digital Officer Rafeh Masood in an interview with Retail TouchPoints.

“Since joining BJ’s, we have built out Product Management and User Experience teams to transition from ‘project’ thinking to ‘product’ thinking, where we focus on continuously evolving member experience,” said Masood. “Naveen [Seshadri], our new VP of Digital Commerce, has been brought onto the team to unlock the potential with the digital capabilities we are building out.”

Kroger has likewise been putting an emphasis on developing its omnichannel capabilities, which have been overseen by Chief Digital Officer Yael Cosset. In May 2018 alone, the food retailer purchased meal kit provider Home Chef and formed a partnership with online grocery seller Ocado.

These omnichannel investments also provide Kroger with valuable shopper data: Cosset noted that Home Chef’s “customer data driven decision-making process” was part of the reason the meal kit company is a good cultural fit with the supermarket giant.

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