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This week, new CEOs are taking the controls following periods of turbulence at Tonal, Quiet Logistics and Forma Brands. Plus, Bath & Body Works makes room for tech and customer chiefs in the leadership ranks, and Nike’s longtime communications head is retiring.
Here's a look at the latest moves:
CEO succession at Tonal
Krystal Zell was appointed to the role of CEO at home strength training platform Tonal. Zell is rising to the top role after joining the company as president in July. She brings more than 20 years of experience from The Home Depot and Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.
With this move, Aly Orady, who founded the company in 2015, will transition to the role of chief technology officer.
The leadership transition comes as Tonal raised $130 million in new funding as part of a recapitalization effort. The financing was led by L Catterton, Cobalt, Dragoneer, Kindred Ventures and THVC.
It comes amid a broader reset in the at-home fitness market following a boom during the pandemic. Last July, the DTC brand laid off 35% of staff in a move to become a more self-sustaining profitable business, Orady said at the time. According to sources cited by the Wall Street Journal, the latest funding round values the company between $550 million and $600 million, which is down from as much as $1.6 billion in 2021.
Head of American Eagle logistics arm departs
Shekar Natarajan stepped down from the top leadership role at Quiet Platforms, the logistics arm of American Eagle Outfitters, according to Business Insider.
Niall Murphy will take over as head of the company. Quiet COO Brent Beabout also left the company. The moves come after Quiet Platforms posted growth below expectations.
AEO acquired Quiet Logistics for $360 million in 2021, and quickly moved forward with plans to position the company as a logistics partner to AEO as well as other brands and retailers. Natarajan was outspoken in urging others to join Quiet in a "frenemy" network that would enable retailers to take on Amazon and Walmart. The news of his exit indicates that the bid to turn supply chain into an engine of growth hasn’t gone according to plan.
Forma Brands names CEO as it moves out of bankruptcy
Cliff Moskowitz joined Forma Brands as CEO following the company’s exit from bankruptcy. Moskowitz brings more than 20 years of experience to the role, having served as CEO of apparel brand Outdoor Voices and managed InterLuxe Holdings.
Forma Brands, which is the parent company of beauty retailer Morphe, was acquired by investors following a bankruptcy filing earlier this year.
Along with the bankruptcy filing, the company closed U.S. Morphe stores, and sold the assets of Ariana Grande’s beauty brand r.e.m. to the singer.
GreyOrange names CEO
Logistics tech company GreyOrange named cofounder Akash Gupta to the role of CEO. Cofounder Samay Kohli will continue to serve on the board.
Over a decade, Gupta and Kohli worked together to helm the company as it grew automated robotic fulfillment and inventory optimization software, which is called GreyMatter. Previously, Gupta served as chief product officer and CTO.
Bath & Body Works names digital chief, CFO to exit
Bath & Body Works announced a series of leadership changes and restructuring. They include:
Thilina Gunasinghe was appointed chief digital and technology officer. She joins from McDonald’s Corporation, where she most recently served as Global Vice President, Chief Technology Architect & Data Officer. The new role will include oversight of digital and technology strategy, digital operations, data and analytics, as well as transformation.
Wendy Arlin will step down as chief financial officer of the retailer in a move that will be effective July 29, or earlier depending on the timing of a successor’s hire.
The new role of chief customer officer is being created, and the company has a search underway for this leader.
Julie Rosen will continue to serve as president of retail, now overseeing all retail channels of the business, product functions and the new business opportunities teams.
Nike communications chief to retire
KeJuan Wilkins. (Courtesy photo)
Nike, Inc. named KeJuan Wilkins the next EVP and chief communications officer. This comes as Nigel Powell announced plans to retire from the top comms role at the sportswear brand after 24 years.
Wilkins previously led corporate and employee communications globally for Nike, and led communications for Nike in North America and the Jordan Brand.
CEO John Donahoe said Powell has been “a visionary communicator leading and driving some of the biggest, most complex, and impactful moments for the brand.”
Trending in Careers
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.”