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Welcome to On the Move. In this hiring-focused weekly feature, The Current is rounding up recent arrivals and departures at brands and retailers across the ecommerce landscape.
This week brought news that the CEO roles at Foot Locker, adidas and Sun-Maid are set to see new faces in the coming months. Meanwhile, leadership teams are going through restructuring at Starbucks and Bath & Body Works.
Here’s the rundown on personnel moves around retail and ecommerce:
Mary Dillon, the former CEO of Ulta Beauty, will assume the CEO role at Foot Locker on Sept. 1. Dillon will succeed retiring CEO Richard A. Johnson, who will remain chair of the board until January 31, 2023. With the move, the footwear and apparel retailer is separating CEO and board chair roles, with Dona D. Young taking a role as non-executive chair. The company touted Dillon’s experience in marketing and digital transformation, as she will seek to build on Foot Locker’s $1.1 billion acquisitions of WSS and atmos last year. “We have turned a brick-and-mortar company into an interactive retail community poised for long-term growth in the digital era,” Johnson said.
Kasper Rorsted will exit his current position as CEO of adidas in 2023. The apparel company’s board of directors announced that it has started the search for a successor. Rorsted assumed the top role at the apparel company in 2016. “After three challenging years that were marked by the economic consequences of the COVID-19-pandemic and geo-political tensions, it is now the right time to initiate a CEO transition and pave the way for a restart,” said chairman of the supervisory board Thomas Rabe.
Harry Overly is set to transition from the role of president and CEO to executive chairman at Sun-Maid Growers of California, effective September 14. According to a new release, he is set to take on “new responsibilities outside of the company.” Current Sun-Maid CFO Braden Bender will assume the role of interim president and CEO while a search for a successor is conducted by the company’s board of directors. Overly joined Sun-Maid in 2018, and oversaw the 2021 acquisition of Plum Organics.
Ted Decker is assuming the additional role of chair of the board at The Home Depot. Decker, a 22-year veteran of home improvement retailer who became its CEO in March, will succeed Craig Menear upon his retirement on September 30.
Jennifer Mann will become president of The Coca-Cola Company's North American operating unit, effective Jan. 1, 2023. Mann will succeed Alfredo Rivera, who is retiring after 38 years with Coca-Cola and a recent stint leading a restructuring of the unit. Mann is a current SVP at Coca-Cola corporate, and leads the team responsible for scaling acquisitions and brands, known as global ventures. A new leader for global ventures will be announced later, the company said.
Tracy Schaefer was promoted to SVP and chief information officer at Conagra Brands, Inc. Schaefer joined the CPG company in 2001 as a financial analyst, and has since held multiple leadership roles. "Tracy has a strong track record of delivering excellent results in finance, information technology and global business services," said Dave Marberger, chief financial officer, Conagra Brands.
Tim Kuckelman was hired as the first-ever chief operating officer at Arhaus. Bringing over three decades of experience in retail operations and logistics Kuckelman previously served as COO Fashionphile Group, and spent a decade in various roles at Kohl's. He also has experience at Best Buy and Gap, Inc. He begins with the furniture retailer at the end of September.
Starbucks announced a series of leadership changes as part of a reorganization initiated by recently-returned CEO Howard Schultz. As the company seeks a new CEO, the big departure is that of COO John Culver, who will transition to an executive advisor role after 20 years with the company. EVP of Supply Chain George Dowdie is also set to leave a day-to-day role with the company “to focus on board and scientific advisory work.” In turn, Frank Britt is taking on an expanded role as EVP, Chief Strategy and Transformation Officer. With these moves, a series of executives will now report to Schultz and Britt, beginning on Oct. 3. Find more details in Schultz’ letter.
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Campbell Soup Company CEO Mark Clouse offered thoughts on messaging amid inflationary shifts in consumer behavior.
After months of elevated inflation and interest rate hikes that have the potential to cool demand, consumers are showing more signs of shifting behavior.
It’s showing up in retail sales data, but there’s also evidence in the observations of the brands responsible for grocery store staples.
The latest example came this week from Campbell Soup Company. CEO Mark Clouse told analysts that the consumer continues to be “resilient” despite continued price increases on food, but found that “consumers are beginning to feel that pressure” as time goes on.
This shows up in the categories they are buying. Overall, Clouse said Campbell sees a shift toward shelf-stable items, and away from more expensive prepared foods.
There is also change in when they make purchases. People are buying more at the beginning of the month. That’s because they are stretching paychecks as long as possible.
These shifts change how the company is communicating with consumers.
Clouse said the changes in behavior are an opportunity to “focus on value within our messaging without necessarily having to chase pricing all the way down.”
“No question that it's important that we protect affordability and that we make that relevant in the categories that we're in," Clouse said. "But I also think there's a lot of ways to frame value in different ways, right?”
A meal cooked with condensed soup may be cheaper than picking up a frozen item or ordering out. Consumers just need a reminder. Even within Campbell’s own portfolio, the company can elevate brands that have more value now, even if they may not always get the limelight.
The open question is whether the shift in behavior will begin to show up in the results of the companies that have raised prices. Campbell’s overall net sales grew 5% for the quarter ended April 30, while gross profit margins held steady around 30%. But the category-level results were more uneven. U.S. soup sales declined 11%, though the company said that was owed to comparisons with the quarter when supply chains reopened a year ago and expressed confidence that the category is seeing a longer-term resurgence as more people cook at home following the pandemic. Snacks, which includes Goldfish and Pepperidge Farm, were up 12% And while net sales increased overall, the amount of products people are buying is declining. Volumes were down 7%.
These are trends happening across the grocery store. Campbell is continuing to compete. It is leading with iconic brands, and a host of different ways to consume them. It is following that up with innovation that makes the products stand out. Then, it is driving home messaging that shows consumers how to fit the products into their lives, and even their tightening spending plans.
Campbell Soup is more than 150 years old, and has seen plenty of difficult economic environments. It is also a different business today, and will continue to evolve. At the end of the day, continued execution is what’s required.
“If it's good food, people are going to buy it, especially if it's a great value,” Clouse said.