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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
Retail media networks must drive sales incrementality, a new report from the Association of National Advertisers states.
Retail media networks are creating a new layer to the relationship between brands and retailers, and a new report indicates that brands in particular are still navigating the growing pains.
The last two years brought fast growth of retail media networks, as retailers recognized the value of providing advertising opportunities through ecommerce marketplaces that grew rapidly during the pandemic, and the value of the first-party data they possessed in a world where third-party cookies and IDFA are becoming less valuable tools. For a historically low-margin business like retail, digital advertising also presents an opportunity for a high-margin business line of 50-70%.
Brands have proven to be eager adopters as they sought new ways to reach customers in this environment, as well. According to eMarketer, ad revenue from retail media networks will reach $52 billion in 2023 and $61 billion in 2024. Over the next two years, retail media will account for one in five digital ad dollars spent by marketers. The spend is only expected to grow. According to a survey from the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), 73% of brands said they expect to be spending somewhat or significantly more on retail media in the future than they do today.
However, this proliferation has also created “more marketing decisionmaking complexity for advertisers,” ANA CEO Bob Liodice said in a new report.
The need to navigate multiple networks and still-developing tools to maximize the opportunity presented by retail media is leading to a multitude of approaches. Layer on top of that the fact that brands are both selling goods and advertising through retailers, and it’s clear the landscape is being reshaped.
A recent report from the Association of National Advertisers uncovered the areas where fault lines may emerge under the surface:
- Reluctant buyers: 88% believe they are somewhat or heavily influenced by retailers to buy advertising on retail media networks.
- A multitude of players: 56% said they are currently working with five or more different retail media networks.
- Differing goals: Two-thirds of respondents see driving conversion as the most important investment. Only 12% indicated the most important objective was “to invest for future brand growth,” and 7% cited “to drive awareness.”
The results underscore key areas where relationships between brands and retailers can be strengthened.
Sales vs. growth. Retail media must be able to drive both conversions of a single sale in the lower funnel, and brand equity growth in the mid- to upper-funnel.
As one respondent put it, "The jury is still out on if the RMNs are truly driving sales incrementality."
This also has implications for how a brand is budgeting retail media. Some brands are shifting dollars from shopper marketing, brand marketing, and trade spending, which could put the emphasis on short-term sales. But as another respondent put it, "There is concern that while attribution shows RMNs are driving brand sales, they are not necessarily driving brand growth. This is especially concerning where incremental RMN spending is being sourced from brand building budgets."
Standard measurement. Brands want to see an improvement in transparency in measurement. They also want results to be measured in the same ways across platforms. Further, brands believe retail media networks are not fully optimized for their KPIs.
This all leaves room for retailers to show they truly understand what brands are seeking from retail media, and show how they are delivering, all while reducing complexity.
As the report put it, “The next phase of growth for RMNs and value creation for brands will be through RMNs assuming shared responsibility with advertisers for driving brand growth, and demonstrating the ability of their platforms to drive incrementality and positive ROAS for brands. In other words, the next stage of growth will be driven by results versus relationships.”