The Current, delivered daily.
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, a pair of Italian fashion brands make key leadership moves, an activist investor sets his sights on Unilever and brands like The Honest Company and Foot Locker are bringing on transformational talent.
Check out the full roundup:
Intermix names Karen Katz interim CEO
Karen Katz (Intermix)
Karen Katz, the former president and CEO of Neiman Marcus and a board member at the brand, will become the interim CEO.
Katz will succeed Jyothi Rao in the top day-to-day role at the brand, who is ending an eight-year tenure with the company.
“We are thrilled to have Karen step into the role as interim CEO,” said Keoni Schwartz, cofounder and managing director of Altamont Capital Partners, which acquired Intermix from Gap, Inc. in 2021. “I want to thank Jyothi for her leadership at Intermix. Her strategic vision to fully integrate the stores with the ecommerce business positioned the brand to be a leading omni-channel fashion business for women.”
Katz retired as CEO of Neiman Marcus in 2018 after 33 years with the retailer, and now serves on the boards of Humana Healthcare, Under Armour and The Real Real.
amika and Eva NYC hires Reuben Carranza as CEO
Reuben Carranza. (Image via LinkedIn)
Independent haircare brands amika and Eva NYC announced the appointment of Reuben Carranza as CEO, effective July 5.
Carranza most recently served as CEO of skincare brand Kate Somerville, and previously served as president of haircare brand Olaplex. He has also worked at R+Co, Wella NA, and Procter & Gamble.
"Demand for prestige and masstige haircare continues to accelerate as customers are increasingly passionate about what goes into products and how they are formulated,” Carranza said in a statement. “Both amika and Eva NYC have built distinctive brands founded on proven efficacy, sustainability, and inclusivity, championing innovation and diversity since inception – I am confident that we will capitalize on a number of new and exciting organic growth and expansion opportunities in the space.
Mollie hires Klarna CTO
Koen Köppen. (Image via Klarna)
Fintech company Mollie said Koen Köppen is joining the company as chief technology officer. Köppen previously held the same role at Klarna, the prominent Swedish company known for buy now pay later services.
Mollie, which is based in the Netherlands, provides technology that allows businesses to integrate payments into a web-based service or app.
“This was a unique opportunity for Mollie to secure an experienced leader with deep expertise in the financial ecosystem,” said Mollie CEO Shane Happach, in a statement. “Koen has led large teams through many modern-day, complex challenges, and he is the perfect person to help us continue to scale our business.”
The Honest Company names Steve Winchell as EVP
Steve Winchell. (Courtesy image)
Digitally native brand The Honest Company named Steve Winchell as EVP for operations and R&D.
Founded by actress Jessica Alba, The Honest Company makes products in categories such as baby, beauty, cleaning and home care. The newly created role will help the company “accelerate our strategy forward as we continue to expand our operations capabilities and portfolio of products," said Nick Vlahos, CEO of The Honest Company, in a statement.
Winchell previously served as EVP of product at cannabis platform The Parent Company, and helped to take it public in 2021. He previously served in leadership roles at The Clorox Company, including with divisions such as Burt’s Bees, cleaning and home care product development.
Foot Locker taps Neil Bansal to lead transformation
Neil Bansal. (Image via LinkedIn)
Athletic retailer Foot Locker announced the appointment of Neil Bansal as EVP and Chief Strategy & Transformation Officer. In this newly created role, Bansal will oversee the company’s “global transformation strategy, driving organizational outcomes with a relentless focus on the customer, growth, and innovation,” according to a news release.
Bansal previously served as SVP of strategy, insights and analytics at beer, wine and spirits company Constellation Brands. He has also held roles at McKinsey & Company, BNP Paribas, JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup, and Bank of America.
"Neil's fresh perspective and deep experience will further accelerate our consumer-led strategies as we continue to expand our customer base and delight them with a broader and richer product offering and diversify our business across brands, categories, and channels,” said CEO Richard Johnson, in a statement.
Flowers Foods announces COO transition
Heeth Varnedoe (Courtesy photo)
Flowers Foods, which operates prominent bakery brands including Nature's Own, Dave's Killer Bread and Tastykake, announced that Bradley K. Alexander will retire from the position of chief operating officer after 41 years with the company.
Heeth Varnedoe, currently chief transformation officer, will assume the role of COO in the new year.
Varnedoe initially joined Thomasville, Georgia-based Flowers in 1990 before leaving in 2000, then rejoined in 2012.
"In several key roles at Flowers, Heeth has consistently demonstrated his superior business acumen and in-depth understanding of our company's operations,” CEO A. Ryals McMullian said in a statement. “Given his proven leadership skills, I have every confidence he will do an outstanding job as we continue our digital transformation efforts while remaining focused on serving the needs of our consumers."
Activist investor Peltz joins Unilever’s board
Nelson Peltz (Courtesy photo)
Change could be afoot at one of the world’s largest consumer goods companies.
A founding partner of hedge fund Trian Fund Management, L.P, Peltz is known as an activist investor who makes changes with an eye toward improving returns for shareholders.
He previously served on the boards of consumer goods companies including The Procter & Gamble Company, H.J. Heinz Company and Mondelēz International. Peltz shook up P&G during a nearly-four-year stint on that prominent CPG company's board, Bloomberg reported.
Poletto rises to CEO role at Diesel
Erlado Poletto. (Courtesy image)
Poletto previously held CEO roles at footwear brands Stuart Weitzman and Salvatore Ferragamo, as well as designer handbag brand Furla.
Diesel indicated that current CEO Massimo Piombini had completed his task of repositioning the company.
Donald Kohler will become CEO for North America at Diesel, which was Poletto’s previous position. He previous served as president of Burberry Americas.
Prada names Massardi chief business development officer
Roberto Massardi is rejoining Italian luxury brand Prada in the newly created role of chief business development officer, WWD reported. According to WWD, Massardi joins as the company is looking to double ecommerce sales to reach 15% of its retail revenue. Massardi has previously held roles at Pirelli Group, Jil Sander and SpA.
Renfro joins West Marine as chief commercial officer
Aftermarket boating and fishing products provider West Marine said Stacey Renfro is joining the company as chief commercial officer.
Renfro most recently served as CEO of digitally native brand mDesign. Previously, she served as Chief Digital and Customer Experience Officer at The Vitamin Shoppe, and held leadership positions at Pier 1 Imports and JC Penney.
“Through her complex growth initiatives and game-changing strategies, she has built lifestyle brands and transformed omni-channel retailers to accelerate digital strategies,” said Eric Kufel, CEO of West Marine, in a statement. “Stacy's passion for boating and the category along with her skillset and proven track record of success, will be an immediate asset to West Marine as we look to enhance our merchandising, productivity and customer experience."
Happy Socks announces 2 appointments
- Anders Lagerstedt will join the company as chief commercial officer, joining the company from Aurora and Deltaco. He previously worked at Hope, Acne Studios, Hunkydory and Triwa.
- Jessica Lagerblad Öhrn will return to the company as design and assortment director. She spent two years developing brands at Skincity, and previously worked at Tiger of Sweden and H&M.
Unbounce welcomes 3 new executives
- Pete Housley joined the company as chief marketing officer. He most recently served as chief revenue officer at INDOCHINO, and brings experience from Milestones, Lavalife and the Hudson’s Bay Company.
- Darby Sieben joined the company as chief product officer, bringing over 25 years of experience at companies including Yellow Pages, Mediative and RBC Ventures.
- Saba El-Hilo is VP of engineering. She most recently was the head of data platform at Mapbox.
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.