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Welcome to On the Move. Every week, The Current is rounding up the coming and goings of leaders at brands and retailers across the ecommerce, retail and CPG landscape.
This week, Hormel Foods named the leader of a new innovation hub, Bonobos has a new CEO and Amazon veterans joined Squarespace and Hims & Hers. Plus, new supply chain leadership is coming aboard at Keurig Dr. Pepper and UNFI.
Here are the latest arrivals and departures:
Scott Aakre was named senior vice president of Brand Fuel at Hormel Foods. The leadership promotion follows Hormel’s announcement that it would evolve its operating model and stand up Brand Fuel, a new center of excellence that serves as the hub for innovation, consumer and shopper insights, brand diagnostics and supporting technology. The center will also house the company’s digital experience group, as well as the ecommerce and digital content team. Aakre joined the company in 1990, and was appointed to his most recent role of vice president of corporate innovation and new product development in 2011. Hormel Foods is a Fortune 500 company that oversees 30 brands, including Planters, Skippy and Spam.
Scott Aakre (Courtesy of Hormel Foods)
John Hutchison was named the new CEO at Bonobos, which he called “the OG digitally native vertical brand,” WWD reported. Hutchison joined the Walmart-owned apparel brand after roles at The North Face and Nike, and was most recently the president of fitness company TRX, and led a turnaround effort there. Hutchison succeeded Micky Onvural, who left the company in January. COO/CFO David Meir Sasson had been leading the company in the interim, and is now set to depart, as well.
Alison Loehnis is set to step into the interim CEO role at Italian fashion ecommerce platform Yoox Net-a-Porter on Oct. 31. Loehnis succeeds Geoffroy Lefebvre, who is stepping down to pursue a “private equity-backed entrepreneurial career” after 11 years with Net-a-Porter owner Richemont. Loehnis currently serves as president of Net-a-Porter, Mr Porter and The Outnet. She will serve in the interim CEO role until the closing of a deal that will see Richemont sell its stake in Net-a-Porter to Farfetch and Alabbar. At that point, an external CEO will be named.
Alison Loehnis. (Courtesy of Yoox Net-a-Porter)
Anne Bramman will step down from the role of chief financial officer at Nordstrom, effective Dec. 2. Bramman became the retailer’s CFO in 2017, and CEO Erik Nordstrom said her “leadership has been vital in helping us in many areas, particularly navigating the numerous challenges of the last few years.” Michael Maher, who is SVP and chief accounting officer, will serve as CFO in the interim while the company conducts a formal search.
Nathan Gooden was named chief financial officer and treasurer of Squarespace, the website builder that offers online selling tools. Gooden most recently served as CFO of Amazon Alexa Worldwide, and has more than two decades of financial leadership experience through firms including PricewaterhouseCoopers and Ernst & Young.
Hims & Hers, the telehealth platform that provides access to treatment in areas including hair loss, dermatology and primary care, made two leadership appointments:
- Brian O’Shaughnessy was appointed chief communications officer. The first person to hold the title at the company, O’Shaughnessy previously led communications functions at Google and Skype.
- Josh Krueger was named VP of Fulfillment Operations. He brings over a decade of fulfillment leadership experience from Walmart, Amazon, QVC and GameStop.
- This news follows additional hires this year, including Chief Financial Officer Yemi Okupe, Chief Growth OfficerMike Chiand SVP of Human Resources Amee Parekh.
Masiar Tayebi was promoted to the role of EVP, chief strategy and information officer at food solutions company SpartanNash. Tayebi joined the company in April 2021 as chief strategy officer, and is now gaining the additional executive title overseeing the IT function. Tayebi previously served as Global Head of Corporate Strategy and Business Development at Whirlpool Corporation, and COO of Yummly.
Masiar Tayebi. (Courtesy of SpartanNash)
Mary-Farrell Tarbox was hired as VP of physical stores and retail operations at REI Co-op. REI chief commercial officer Cameron Jones called Tarbox “a proven leader in omni-channel operations.” Tarbox previously served as a regional vice president at Bed, Bath and Beyond, overseeing 370 stores. She also held senior leadership roles at Crate & Barrel, Petsmart, Inc. and Target Corporation.
Shipt, the on-demand delivery company owned by Target, made two key executive moves:
- Alia Kemet was hired as chief marketing officer, overseeing brand, creative, consumer insights and growth marketing. Kemet brings experience from Nike, Whole Foods Market, IKEA and McCormick & Company.
- Smrutha Ipparthi was promoted to chief product officer. Ipparthi joined the team in 2021, and most recently served as VP of engineering. She previously held roles at MGM Resorts International, Macy's and Arteza.
Alia Kemet. (Courtesy of Shipt)
Keurig Dr Pepper announced a reorganization in its supply chain structure. This included the promotion of three leaders into new roles:
- Tony Milikin will depart the company as chief supply chain officer. He joined the company in September 2021, and led the company during the supply shocks of the ensuing months.
- Roger Johnson was promoted to chief supply chain officer. He is currently chief product officer at the company. He helped to establish an operations center in Singapore, and was the principal architect of the company’s brewer innovation strategy.
- Christopher Martin was promoted to SVP of coffee supply chain. He most recently served as SVP of logistics operations.
- Paul DaRosa was promoted to SVP of cold beverages supply chain. He most recently served as SVP of quality, employee health and safety and technical services.
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.