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Welcome to On the Move. Every week, The Current is rounding up the comings and goings of leaders at brands and retailers across the ecommerce, retail and CPG landscape.
This week, the founders of KIND Snacks are launching a platform to build a new generation of businesses, there will be new CEOs at Michael Kors and Dollar Tree and there are new CMOs at Away and Ulta Beauty. Plus, check out new appointments to roles in owned retail, DTC marketing and Walmart technical fellow.
Daniel Lubetzky, the entrepreneur behind KIND Snacks, is launchingCamino Partners, an investment and business-building platform for purpose-driven entrepreneurs. Lubetzky and team are aiming to apply lessons from launching and scaling KIND to new businesses. The firm has already launched Mexican food brand Somos, and invested in European snack brand Belgian Boys, gimme seaweed snacks and Mediterranean brand CAVA.
Cedric Wilmotte will become the CEO of Michael Kors, effective April 3. Wilmotte previously served as interim CEO of Versace from January-September 2022, and is currently the CEO of that label. Wilmotte has prior experience with Michael Kors as president of EMEA, and also held senior positions at Marc Jacobs and Donna Karan.
Danone, the CPG company that owns Activia, evian and other brands, named three deputy CEOs:
- Véronique Penchienati-Bosetta was promoted to Group Deputy CEO, CEO International and EVP Specialized Nutrition, Waters, Global Marketing & Digital, rising from CEO International.
- Shane Grant was appointed Group Deputy CEO, CEO Americas and EVP Dairy, Plant-Based and Global Sales, rising from CEO of North America.
- Juergen Esser was appointed Group Deputy CEO in charge of Finance, Technology & Data, rising from chief financial, technology and data officer.
- Along with these promotions, EVP Chief Growth Officer Nigyar Makhmudova and Europe Zone President Floris Wesseling will be departing the company.
Rick Drelling will step into the CEO role at Dollar Tree, effective Jan. 29. Drelling is currently executive chairman of the discount retailer. He succeeds Mike Witynski, who served as CEO since 2020 after 10 years in leadership roles. Drelling brings over 50 years of retail experience in expansion and transformation efforts.
Todd Klein will become the president of Fila USA, serving as the North American lead for the South Korean sportswear company. Klein has held past roles at adidas and Reebok. It comes as Fila is executing a five-year strategy to offer “unified products and marketing worldwide by redefining Fila’s brand value, building a customer experience-oriented business model and pursuing sustainable growth,” Fashion Network reports.
Julie Bornstein is moving to the role of advisor at Pinterest,Glossy reported. A longtime ecommerce operator, Bornstein joined Pinterest following the acquisition of The Yes in June. Now, The Yes team has integrated into Pinterest under new CEO Bill Ready, and the social platform is continuing a push into social commerce. Pinterest also made the following executive appointments, according to Retail TouchPoints:
- Andréa Mallard is expanding the CMO role to include external communications.
- LeMia Jenkins became Pinterest’s first Chief of Public Affairs and Sustainability Officer, rising from head of communications
- Marth Welsh joined Pinterest from Google as head of strategy.
Michelle Crossan-Matos was named chief marketing officer of Ulta Beauty. She will “lead an expansive roster of marketing and communications functions that work to engage our guests, share our stories and unlock new, beautiful possibilities,” the company wrote. Crossan-Matos previously held chief marketing officer among her titles at Samsung Electronics America, and spent 16 years at Procter and Gamble.
Jason Gowans was named SVP and chief digital officer at Levi Strauss & Co., where he will focus on bringing together engineering, data, AI and digital product management in both ecommerce and go-to-market. Gowans most recently served as SVP of digital commerce at Nordstrom, where he led ecommerce for both Nordstrom and Nordstrom Rack.
Jason Forrester was named technical fellow at Walmart,The Information reported. Previously, Forrester helped Amazon, Apple and Target develop networking technology for in-store experiences. His exact role at Walmart is not known.
Carla Dunham is the new chief marketing officer of travel brand Away,Retail Dive reported. Dunham was previously the chief marketing officer at grocer Foxtrot, and held VP roles at Equinox gym and Kate Spade. Dunham succeeds Melissa Weiss, who departed the brand in July.
Scott Kerby was appointed chief of owned retail at digitally native mattress brand Purple. Kerby comes to Purple from Sephora, where he served as VP head of stores and led a long-term planning effort in Canada. He also previously worked at Old Navy, Bath and Body Works, L Brands and American Eagle.
Bobby Goodwin will lead DTC marketing for Vans Americas, Shop Eat Surf reported. Goodwin previously served as head of merchandising at Tilly’s. Goodwin has been a buyer with Vans, and previously worked at Active Ride Shop and PacSun.
Mark Adams is joining BigCommerce as SVP and general manager for EMEA. Adams joins BigCommerce from Attraqt, which was acquired in December by K1 Investment Management. He previously cofounded and led digital transformation agency eComp Consulting, as well as SAP hybris systems integrator Portaltech Reply.
Focus Brands, the parent of food brands like Auntie Anne’s, Jamba and Cinnabon, made a trio of executive appointments:
- Julie Younglove-Webb is chief brand officer of Auntie Anne's, joining from Domino’s Pizza.
- Jim Cannon is SVP of design and construction at Focus, bringing experience from Inspire Brands, Arby's and Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen.
- Chris Newman is SVP of Real Estate at Focus, having previously worked at Next Chapter and Jimmy John’s.
Speed Commerce, which provides ecommerce order fulfillment and a 24/7 contact center, added five executives to its team from Rakuten Super Logistics. The company is also opening a new fulfillment center in North Las Vegas. The executive appointments are as follows: Michael Manzione was named Chief Operating Officer; Jason Chan is Vice President of Sales and Marketing; Gregg Beall has been chosen as Vice President of Information Technology; Robert Tillman is the Senior Director of Operations; and Lauren Groh has been named Director of Finance.FMI, the Food Industry Association, named its 2023 board of directors. Lowes Foods CEO Brian George will serve as chairman. Find the rest of the board slate here.
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Labor disputes on the West Coast could cause further disruption heading into peak season.
When the first half of 2023 is complete, imports are expected to dip 22% below last year.
That’s according to new data from the Global Port Tracker, which is compiled monthly by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.
The decline has been building over the entire year, as imports dipped in the winter. With the spring, volume started to rebound. In April, the major ports handled 1.78 million Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units. That was an increase of 9.6% from March. Still it was a decline of 21.3% year over year – reflecting the record cargo hauled in over the spike in consumer demand of 2021 and the inventory glut 2022.
In 2023, consumer spending is remaining resilient with in a strong job market, despite the collision of inflation and interest rates. The economy remains different from pre-pandemic days, but shipping volumes are beginning to once again resemble the time before COVID-19.
“Economists and shipping lines increasingly wonder why the decline in container import demand is so much at odds with continuous growth in consumer demand,” said Hackett Associates Founder Ben Hackett, in a statement. “Import container shipments have returned the pre-pandemic levels seen in 2019 and appear likely to stay there for a while.”
Retailers and logistics professionals alike are looking to the second half of the year for a potential upswing. Peak shipping season occurs in the summer, which is in preparation for peak shopping season over the holidays.
Yet disruption could occur on the West Coast if labor issues can’t be settled. This week, ports from Los Angeles to Seattle reported closures and slowdowns as ongoing union disputes boil over, CNBC reported. NRF called on the Biden administration to intervene.
“Cargo volume is lower than last year but retailers are entering the busiest shipping season of the year bringing in holiday merchandise. The last thing retailers and other shippers need is ongoing disruption at the ports,” aid NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold said. “If labor and management can’t reach agreement and operate smoothly and efficiently, retailers will have no choice but to continue to take their cargo to East Coast and Gulf Coast gateways. We continue to urge the administration to step in and help the parties reach an agreement and end the disruptions so operations can return to normal. We’ve had enough unavoidable supply chain issues the past two years. This is not the time for one that can be avoided.”