On the Move has the latest leadership moves at Mondelez, Rothy’s, LTK and Cotopaxi.
Welcome to On the Move. Every week, The Current is rounding up the coming and goings of leaders at brands and retailers across the ecommerce, retail and CPG landscape.
This week, adidas hired Puma’s CEO, while Levi’s tapped Kohl’s CEO to become its next leader. Plus, check out new C-level appointments at Mondelez, Rothy’s, LTK and Cotopaxi.
Bjørn Gulden was tapped to be the next CEO of adidas, and will take the helm at the beginning of 2023. He will succeed Kasper Rorsted in the top job at the German sportswear giant, following an announcement over the summer that Rorsted would step down after six years at the helm. Gulden has served as CEO of Puma since 2013, where he is credited with leading a turnaround effort. He also has previous experience with adidas as SVP of apparel and accessories from 1992-1999, and has held senior roles at jewelry brand Pandora and Rack Room Shoes.
Arne Freundt, in turn, was promoted to the role of CEO of Puma, succeeding Gulden after he resigned to take on the adidas CEO role. Freundt has been at Puma for more than a decade. He will begin in the CEO role on Jan. 1, 2023, Puma said in a brief statement.
Michelle Gass was appointed to the role of president at Levi Strauss & Co., and is set to become CEO of the apparel company within the next 18 months. In turn, Gass is resigning from the CEO role at Kohl’s, which she has held since 2013. As president at Levi Strauss, Gass will oversee the Levi’s brand, as well as the company’s digital and commercial operations. A news release cited her “exceptional direct-to-consumer experience,” and leadership of a turnaround effort at Kohl’s that included expansion of the department store chain’s digital business. Gass will succeed current Levi Strauss CEO Chip Bergh following a transition. At Kohl’s, Tom Kingsbury will serve as interim CEO until a permanent successor is named.
Gina Boswell was hired as CEO of Bath & Body Works. She brings more than 30 years of experience to the leading role at the beauty and personal care retailer, having worked at Unilever, Alberto Culver Company and The Estee Lauder Companies. At Unilever, Boswell served as EVP of personal care for North America, head of UK & Ireland and president of customer development for Unilever USA. Boswell succeeds Sarah Nash, who has served as interim CEO since May.
Tuesday Morning announced a series of leadership changes that will reshape its C-suite. This comes after Pier 1 and Dressbarn owner Retail Ecommerce Ventures acquired a majority interest in the offprice home goods retailer in September. The moves are as follows:
Rafeh Masood is stepping down as chief customer and technology officer at Bed Bath & Beyond. “Mr. Masood’s resignation was not the result of any disagreement with the Company on any matter relating to the Company’s operations, policies or practices or financial statements,” the company stated in a regulatory filing. It comes after a wave of executive departures this year at the home retailer, including former CEO Mark Tritton in June. The company is now being led by Sue Gove, who was named to the permanent CEO role after a stint as interim leader.
Mondelez International, the snacks company that oversees Ritz and Oreo, announced a series of personnel moves on its third quarter earnings call:
Rothy’s, the brand that makes shoes, handbags and accessories from recycled materials, announced a pair of executive hires, and shared a pair of leadership updates.
Apple will see a pair of executive-level departures, Bloomberg reported, citing sources familiar. They are as follows:
Nicole Sokol joined Haus Labs by Lady Gaga as VP of product development, Happi reported. Sokol brings more than 15 years of experience at brands such as Makeup by Mario, MAC, Revlon, Avon and Alamay.
Rachel Jones was promoted to the role of SVP, chief product innovation and science officer at GNC. Jones joined the nutrition retailer in 2004. She will now oversee product development, product brand strategy, scientific affairs and innovation.
Nicola Formichetti is partnering with Claire’s to become creative director in residence. The fashion director and futurist will collaborate on content, a partnership with V Magazine and the opening of a new Paris store with the accessories and jewelry retailer. All of these collaborations are aimed at deepening ties between Claire’s and Gen Zalpha.
Jeremy Paterson is joining LTK, the creator-guided shopping platform, as general manager of international, leading growth in Europe, South America and Asia-Pacific. It comes as LTK recently expanded to Italy, Spain, The Netherlands and New Zealand. Paterson previously led international operations from Groupon, and held operational roles at Amazon and eBay.
Plus, check out peak holiday shopping weekend results shared by Klaviyo, Wayfair and Ace Hardware.
At Amazon, 2022 delivered the "biggest ever" Thanksgiving weekend to date.
ustomers purchased a record number of products from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday, the company said in a news release Wednesday. Amazon did not disclose sales figures, while sharing that “hundreds of millions” of products were purchased.
"This was a record-breaking holiday shopping weekend for Amazon,” said Doug Herrington, Amazon’s CEO of Worldwide Stores, in a statement. “Customers shopped millions of deals this weekend and we have many more amazing deals to come.”
It came as record sales and traffic were reported for US ecommerce as a whole during the peak shopping weekend.
Despite the growth, Amazon is still expressing a cautious approach that led it to forecast more tepid sales growth over 2021 for the all-important holiday quarter. According to Bloomberg, CEO Andy Jassy said Wednesday that inflation is leading shoppers to seek deals.
“Consumers are spending, but they’re being careful about trying to stretch their dollar,” Jassy said at the New York Times DealBook conference.
This year, Amazon sought to get an early jump on the shopping holidays to reach bargain hunters. It began Black Friday deals on Thanksgiving, as many shoppers turned to their phones after dinner. For Cyber Monday, deals started on Saturday.
Over the Turkey 5, the best-selling categories were home, fashion, toys, beauty and Amazon devices. Electronics including Echo Dot, Fire TV Stick, and Apple AirPods were the best-selling items. Other top sellers included Hasbro Gaming Connect 4, Burt’s Bees Christmas gifts, apparel from Champion, apparel and shoes from New Balance, the Amazon smart plug, Echo Show and Nintendo Switch.
Amazon said that more than $1 billion in sales were generated for US small businesses through the weekend. This includes third-party sellers that offer goods on Amazon’s marketplace and access its logistics services through Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA).
“If the news of Amazon having the best Black Friday weekend in company history is any clue, it was historic for 3P sellers in many ways,” said Jon Elder, who consults with Amazon sellers as founder and CEO of Black Label Advisor.
Elder said that the vast majority of FBA sellers experienced “tremendous” year-over-year growth through the weekend.
“Sellers noticed that customers were hungry for deals like never before and coupons played especially well,” Elder said. “Some sellers opted to not sign up for deals and still experienced historic traffic and sales.”
Sellers also ramped up PPC, or pay-per-click, in which brands and sellers access sponsored product space to appear in prominent positions on the highly-trafficked marketplace.
“With inflation on the rise, it was more important than ever to increase brand awareness through PPC ads, including video ads. Expect to see brands make this a ‘best practice’ going forward,” Elder said.
Despite all the sales ringing up, Black Friday did bring one curve ball, as a glitch in Amazon’s ad tools led to inaccurate reporting of spend that misled brands and advertisers. According to Business Insider, the sitewide reporting error caused agencies and other ad buyers to either overspend, or miss out on sales as a result of underspending. While a spokesperson said the issue was fixed, it caused a state of confusion on retail’s most important day of the year, as many were forced to wait for a fix.
Nevertheless, the weekend's overall results serve as a reminder that the Thanksgiving shopping period remains the largest weekend of the year for ecommerce, even as Amazon has introduced Prime Day and this year’s early October holiday kickoff event, which it dubbed Prime Early Access Sale.
The Prime sale events are “unique to the Amazon ecosystem, but many Americans simply don’t show up for those events as much because of the time of the year," Elder said.
"Black Friday weekend remains king and the numbers prove that."
Here are a few more key data points over the Black Friday-Cyber Monday weekend that were shared this week:
How many sales do the volumes of messages being sent by brands account for? One of the largest platforms is offering hard numbers. Klaviyo, which serves direct-to-consumer businesses, said revenue attributed to its SMS and email marketing messages reached $2.2 billion during Black Friday-Cyber Monday. That represents a 46% increase in dollars over 2021, while total order count reached 34% year-over-year. The growth was even more staggering in SMS-attributed sales alone, which grew 200% in dollars and $190 in order count.
Black Friday was the highest day for message sends, but Cyber Monday closed the gap from 2021, with 47% growth.
This came after businesses using the platform sent a combined 10.7 billion emails and text messages—up 41% from 2021.
While Klaviyo’s growth is likely a factor, it’s a fair bet that a shift toward owned marketing channels following Apple’s App Tracking Transparency played a role in this growth.
A pair of retailers in the furniture and home improvement categories released sales results showing growth.
Wayfair, the furniture home goods marketplace, reported a “low single digit sales increase” over 2021 for Thanksgiving weekend. Over the five days, 73% of the orders were from repeat customers, while “hundreds of thousands” of new customers ordered from Wayfair for the first time. Wayfair said its revenue strengthened following an early November earnings call, in which the company shared its revenue was down 10% quarter-to-date.
Ace Hardware, meanwhile, may known for its local stores, but ecommerce was the focus of its holiday update. Black Friday brought a record online sales day for the home improvement and tools retailer, posting 45% growth over 2021. Cyber Monday also saw a year-over-year jump of 33%. Ace said demand spiked for grills and smokers, electric mowers and snow blowers, while power tools also remained a popular category. In all, Ace saw a 33% increase in ecommerce sales over 2021 during the five-day weekend.
Ace sells through its ecommerce site, but its omnichannel model remains heavily linked to its neighborhood-level stores. The company said that 90% of online orders are either picked up in store, at curbside or delivered by store associates.
“Our continuous investments in the digital and omnichannel shopping experience make it easy for customers to shop Ace any way they prefer," said Bill Kiss, head of digital at Ace Hardware, in a statement.