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 RetailAI Names Kevin Sterneckert CMO

Symphony RetailAI, a provider of AI-enabled decision platforms, solutions and customer-centric insights for retailers and manufacturers, has appointed Kevin Sterneckert as CMO.  In this role, Sterneckert will continue to drive awareness through strategic marketing activities that spotlight Symphony RetailAI’s end-to-end solutions supporting the customer value chain. Symphony RetailAI operates with a three-pronged approach — “Identify, Activate, Realize” — designed to enable customers to uncover growth opportunities through AI recommendations; plan and execute intelligent actions; and measure the improvement in revenue and profit.

Rite Aid CEO Steps Down In C-Suite Shuffle; Retailer Will Cut 400 Jobs

In what the retailer is labeling a “leadership transition plan and organizational restructuring,” Rite Aid CEO John Standley is stepping down, but he will remain in his position until a successor is found. Additionally, Rite Aid has promoted Bryan Everett, COO of Rite Aid Stores, to COO of the company, and has named Chief Accounting Officer and Treasurer Matt Schroeder to the post of CFO. Everett and Schroeder are replacing Kermit Crawford and Darren Karst, respectively, who are both leaving the company. Rite Aid also will eliminate approximately 400 corporate positions, accounting for more than 20% of jobs at its headquarters and across the field organization. Approximately two-thirds of the reductions will take place immediately, with the remainder to be cut by the end of fiscal 2020. The retailer anticipates annual cost savings of $55 million from the cuts, with approximately $42 million realized within fiscal year 2020.

Post-Bankruptcy, David’s Bridal Names New Leaders

David’s Bridal, which emerged from bankruptcy in January without closing any of its 300 stores, is making some significant C-suite changes. The retailer named a new CEO, Tom Lynch, and a new CFO, Curt Kroll, both on an interim basis. David’s Bridal, which entered bankruptcy in November 2018 with a deal to cut approximately $450 million in debt, also has appointed Jeffrey Zelenko as a Strategic Advisor to position it for the next phase of growth and development. Lynch, formerly CEO of Frederick’s of Hollywood, succeeds Scott Key, who has stepped down. Key served as David’s Bridal CEO beginning in May 2018. Kroll replaces former CFO Joan Hilson; he was most recently interim CFO at National Stores.

Michaels CEO Steps Down

Chuck Rubin, who has held the CEO post at The Michaels Companies since 2013, is stepping down effective April 1 in what is apparently an amicable parting. Mark Cosby will serve as interim CEO until the arts and crafts retailer finds a permanent replacement for Rubin. Prior to joining Michaels, Rubin served as CEO and President at Ulta Beauty from 2010 to 2013, and as President, North America Retail at Office Depot from 2004 to 2010, according to his LinkedIn profile. During his tenure as Michaels’ CEO, Rubin brought the company back out as a publicly traded enterprise and reduced the debt load from its 2005 leveraged buyout, according to the Dallas Morning News. Rubin also oversaw the launch of Michaels’ e-Commerce business.

Eddie Lampert Steps Down As Sears Chairman

In the wake of gaining approval to purchase Sears in a $5.2 billion lifeline bid, Chairman Eddie Lampert has stepped down from its Board of Directors, according to a company securities filing. Lampert had already stepped down as CEO of Sears when the company filed for bankruptcy in October 2018, but remained as Chairman to keep the business afloat during the auction process. Lampert placed the winning bid for the retailer through his hedge fund, ESL Investments, after numerous previous attempts were rejected, so he will still serve as the owner of Sears Holdings as a private company.

REI CEO Resigns Over Personal Conflict Of Interest

Jerry Stritzke, President and CEO of outdoors retailer REI, has resigned from his position effective March 15, 2019. The co-op’s board of directors accepted the resignation after an investigation into a personal and consensual relationship between Stritzke and the leader of another organization in the outdoor industry. COO Eric Artz will take over as interim CEO. REI has yet to disclose its plans for finding Stritzke’s permanent replacement.

RetailMeNot Appoints Nordstrom Exec As Chief Product Officer

RetailMeNot has appointed Joshua Platt as Chief Product Officer. Platt most recently served as VP of Product for, where he led a team responsible for digital product experiences across, the retailer’s mobile apps and its physical stores. Under his leadership, Nordstrom’s annual e-Commerce sales grew from $4 billion to $6 billion in three years. Platt also oversaw personalization efforts related to machine learning-powered product sorting and product recommendations. Nordstrom was on track to exceed $1 billion in personalization-related sales for 2018, according to Platt’s LinkedIn profile.

Lidl Names Aldi Exec As U.S. Chairman

In a move to strengthen its U.S. management team, Germany-based discount supermarket chain Lidl has named Roman Heini Chairman of Lidl U.S. Heini will work out of Lidl’s Arlington, Va., U.S. headquarters beginning March 1, according to Supermarket News. Heini joined Lidl in October 2018 from rival discount grocer Aldi, where he served as Joint Managing Director for its UK operation from 2010 to 2014. His appointment follows the retailer’s naming of Lidl Sweden CEO Johannes Fieber as President and CEO of Lidl U.S. in May 2018.

JOANN Taps Interim CEO For Permanent Role

JOANN Stores has named Wade Miquelon as President and CEO. Miquelon had filled these roles on an interim basis after Jill Soltau left to take the reins of CEO at JCPenney in October 2018. JOANN also appointed Miquelon to the company’s Board of Directors. Miquelon joined JOANN as EVP and CFO in March 2016 from Walgreens, and helped drive a growth plan including revitalized branding, refreshed merchandising, expanded digital capabilities and customer-focused storefront innovation, according to a company statement. He remained EVP and CFO even as he took on the Interim CEO and President titles.

enVista Names Gene Bornac Retail Consulting Practice Leader

enVista, a global software solutions and consulting firm, has hired Gene Bornac as Practice Leader of its Retail Consulting Practice. Bornac will help clients develop and implement customer-centric omnichannel, supply chain and IT strategies and solutions to unify commerce and improve the customer experience.

Neiman Marcus C-Level Carousel Keeps Spinning With Two Experience-Driven Hires

Neiman Marcus has hired two new experiential experts as the department store continues to focus on remodeling the store experience. David Goubert will serve as EVP of Stores and Retail Experience and Ginger Mollo will become Senior VP of Retail Experience — West Coast. Goubert will be responsible for creating “personalized, seamless and magical” experiences within Neiman Marcus stores, according to a company statement. He joins Neiman Marcus from Starboard Cruise Services, a division of LVMH, where he was most recently Senior Vice President, Luxury Cruise Lines. Starboard has based its retail model on combining luxury with experiences to create memorable stories for seafaring customers.

Francesca’s CEO Resigns As Company Explores Potential Sale

Francesca’s CEO Steve Lawrence has resigned, just as the retailer revealed that it is exploring strategic alternatives, which may include the possible sale of the company or a refinancing. The women’s apparel and accessories retailer is sharing the same struggles as many mall-based competitors, with the company set to close up to 40 underperforming stores in 2019. In Q3, the retailer reported a 10% decline in net sales, with comparable store sales plummeting 14% on top of an 18% decline in the same period a year ago.
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