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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, several of the largest consumer goods companies are naming top tech and digital leaders, while Coca-Cola and Williams Sonoma announced presidential succession plans.
Check out who else is getting hired and promoted in ecommerce, retail and consumer goods:
Coca-Cola promotes a president
John Murphy. (Courtesy of Coca-Cola)
The Coca-Cola Company announced that John Murphy will be promoted to president and chief financial officer, rising from the current role of EVP and CFO.
The move will be effective Oct. 1, upon the retirement of Brian Smith, a 25-year veteran of the company who has served as president and COO since 2019. The company said it is “evaluating future plans” for the chief operating officer role.
Murphy has been with the company since 1988, serving in executive roles overseeing operations in Latin America, Indonesia and Japan during various stints.
“John has been a vital business partner and leader at the company,” Coca-Cola CEO James Quincey said, in a statement. “As president and CFO, John’s new role will be instrumental in driving critical, enterprise-wide imperatives across the Coca-Cola system.”
Williams Sonoma names president
Felix Carbullido. (Courtesy photo)
At the Williams Sonoma brand, Felix Carbullido was named to the role of president. He succeeds Ryan Ross, who resigned from the company for another leadership opportunity outside the company on July 26.
Carbullido served as chief marketing officer of Williams Sonoma, Inc., the home retailer's parent company, since 2014. Joining the company 2009, he previously held leadership roles in ecommerce, DTC, merchandising and marketing at Pottery Barn.
"I am excited for the future growth opportunities we see in the Williams Sonoma brand with Felix at the helm. He has built an incredibly talented marketing organization, and together we will launch an internal and external search for our next CMO," said Williams Sonoma, Inc. CEO Laura Alber, in a statement.
Colgate-Palmolive names CTO
Colgate Palmolive Company said Stephan Habif will join the company this fall as chief technology officer, overseeing research and development at the personal, home and pet care company.
Effective Sept. 1, he will succeed Patricia Verduin, who is retiring after 15 years at the company.
Bringing more than 25 years of experience leading R&D teams, Habif previously served as SVP of research and innovation for L’Oreal, and previously worked at Unilever.
At Colgate, he will lead the team of engineers and scientists that develop products and packaging to support growth.
“Our world-class science and formulation capabilities are driving an exciting new-product pipeline for Colgate," said CEO Noel Wallace, in a statement. "Stephan will build on the team’s strong commitment to innovation, efficacy, and sustainability, feeding our growth by advancing our purpose - to reimagine a healthier future for all people, their pets and our planet."
Kimberly-Clark names chief digital and technology officer
Zack Hicks. (Courtesy photo)
The Kimberly-Clark Corporation appointed Zack Hicks to the newly created role of chief digital and technology officer.
Previously, Hicks served as the CEO of Toyota Connected, a startup that operated the motor company’s data science hub. He also served as chief digital officer of Toyota Motors North America.
"Zack brings to Kimberly-Clark significant experience in technology innovation, operations and team leadership," said Mike Hsu, CEO of Kimberly-Clark, in a statement. "He's the right leader to help us leverage the full potential of technology to accelerate the next phase of our growth strategy for long-term value creation."
McDonald’s appoints CIO
Brian Rice. (Courtesy photo)
McDonald’s said Brian Rice is joining the QSR as EVP and global chief information officer.
Rice previously led enterprise technology teams at Kellogg Company, Mars, General Motors and Cardinal Health.
McDonald’s is seeing success in adding tech capabilities, as digital sales were $6 billion for its top six markets in the second quarter. In a note announcing the hire, CEO Chris Kempczinski shared the following details about the company’s recent tech improvements, known as Accelerating the Arches.
Our innovations in digital and technology are powering our ambition to double down on our 3Ds (digital, delivery and Drive Thru). We're scaling new capabilities including loyalty – which is now in nearly 50 markets – introducing new innovations like artificial intelligence and automated order taking, and modernizing data systems to move faster while improving the experience for customers and crew.
Of Rice’s role, Kempczinski added, “While we further fortify an even stronger technology backbone across every aspect and touchpoint of our business, Brian will partner with leaders across the center, our segments and our markets to support our transformation of the McDonald's experience into an extraordinary and personalized journey for every person.”
Nordstrom promotes Sam Lobban to senior merchandising position
Sam Lobban. (Photo via LinkedIn)
The retailer Nordstrom said it is promoting Sam Lobban to a new senior merchandising position.
In the role of executive vice president and general merchandising manager, Lobban will be supporting women's apparel, men's apparel and all designer categories.
Most recently, Lobban served as senior vice president of designer and new concepts, a role he held since 2020. After joining Nordstrom as VP of men’s fashion in 2018, Lobban launched 17 new concept shops, including DIOR, Fear of God, Black_Space, Union, Noah and Thom Browne.
"Sam is an innovative merchant with strong creative and strategic vision, deep industry experience and meaningful connections," said Teri Bariquit, chief merchandising officer at Nordstrom, in a statement. "We are excited for Sam to carry forward his strategic approach in designer to men's and women's apparel as we aim to deliver the most relevant products to our customers."
DataGrail hires former Shopify VP of engineering
Cathy Polinsky. (Courtesy of DataGrail)
Data privacy platform DataGrail named Cathy Polinsky as its new CTO.
Polinsky previously served as VP of engineering at ecommerce software company Shopify, spent four years as CTO of online personal styling company Stitch Fix and SVP at Salesforce.
DataGrail provides data privacy management for Overstock, Dexcom, Revolve, and Databricks.
Asos names womenswear director
Elena Martínez Ortiz. (Courtesy of Asos)
Apparel brand Asos appointed Elena Martínez Ortiz as womenswear director.
Ortiz will lead the vision and strategy of own brand offering Asos Design, Fashion United reports.
Ortiz was previously a product director at Inditex’s Stradivarius, overseeing the company’s womenswear division, and served as Asia sourcing director at Inditex.
Cotopaxi hires chief people and impact officer
Grace Zuncic. (Courtesy of Cotopaxi.)
Outdoors brand Cotopaxi said Grace Zuncic is joining the company as its first-ever chief people and impact officer.
Zuncic previously served in senior executive roles at food brand Chobani. In the new role, she will be leading “strategic employee-centric practices as well as impact-driven initiatives,” the brand said.
"Putting people first and fighting extreme poverty underline everything we do at Cotopaxi, and Grace's thoughtful approach to leadership and deep passion for our mission to improve the human condition will make her a critical asset to our team," said Davis Smith, Founder and CEO of Cotopaxi, in a statement.
Conagra names Sally Beauty CEO as board member
Denise A. Paulonis. (Courtesy photo)
Conagra Brands appointed Sally Beauty Co. CEO Denise A. Paulonis to its board of directors. Effective on Aug. 1, the move increases the size of the food company’s board to 13 members.
Along with experience as the leader of Sally Beauty, Paulonis brings prior experience in CFO roles with Sprouts Farmers Market and Michaels.
"We are pleased to welcome Denise to the Conagra Brands board," said Richard H. Lenny, chair of Conagra Brands, in a statement. "Conagra and our shareholders will benefit from Denise's extensive leadership experience driving growth, supply chain innovation, ecommerce capabilities, and product innovation within the consumer products market."
Trending in Careers
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.