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Welcome to On the Move. Every week, The Current is rounding up the comings and goings of leaders at brands and retailers across the ecommerce, retail and CPG landscape.
This week, Walmart’s top US merchant is stepping down, while Nordstrom is adding tech leadership and The Home Depot elevates a head of retail media. Meanwhile, the CFO seat will have new occupants at Hasbro, Rent the Runway and Groupon.
Here’s the latest moves:
Walmart’s chief US merchant is stepping down
Charles Redfield will depart Walmart after 32 years from the role of chief merchandising officer for the US, according to an internal memo reported by the Wall Street Journal.
Redfield’s career at Walmart began as a Sam’s Club cashier before he rose through the ranks of Asda, Sam’s Club and eventually Walmart’s US arm.
A successor to Redfield will be named in the near future, according to the memo.
Nordstrom names tech chief
Jason Morris will join Nordstrom as chief technology and information officer, overseeing engineering, data and analytics.
Morris joins the retailer from Walmart, where he led global enterprise technology and served as VP of customer-facing technology.
"I have long admired Nordstrom as a retail leader in redefining the importance of digital," said Morris, in a statement. "I am excited to join this talented technology team to continue enhancing Nordstrom's digital capabilities and support the company's ongoing focus on using technology to serve customers in new and better ways."
In a separate move, Nordstrom named former Nike COO Eric Sprunk to its board of directors. This addition expands the board to 11 members.
With Eric's decades of operational experience in the consumer retail industry and track record of driving ecommerce growth and large-scale transformations within a complex global business, we're confident he will be a valuable addition to the board and look forward to benefiting from his expertise,” said Brad Tilden, chairman of the Nordstrom Board, in a statement.
Hasbro names 2 leadership appointments
Toy company Hasbro announced a pair of executive hires:
Gina Goetter is the company’s new chief financial officer. Goetter previously served as CFO of Harley-Davidson. She previously served as SVP of finance in Tyson Foods’ prepared foods division, and spent more than two decades at General Mills.
Tim Kilpin is joining the company as president of toy, licensing and entertainment. Kilpin brings experience as CEO of PlayMonster Group, head of Activision Blizzard’s Consumer Products business, Chief Commercial Officer for Mattel and as EVP of franchise management at The Walt Disney Company.
Home Depot promotes retail media head
The Home Depot promoted Melanie Babcock to the role of VP of Retail Media+ and monetization, Retail TouchPoints reported.
Babcock played a key role as the home improvement retailer launched its retail media network in 2019. She bolstered personalization, launched a media measurement practice, and refocused the marketing team’s key metrics.
“The Home Depot is dedicated to continuing to grow our Retail Media Network and Melanie’s leadership along with our unique data and program offerings will set us up for continued success,” said Molly Battin, SVP and Chief Marketing Officer, in a statement.
SpartanNash promotes chief customer officer
David Sisk. (Courtesy photo)
David Sisk was promoted to EVP and chief customer officer of grocer SpartanNash. Sisk joined the company in 2020, and this move comes after he was promoted to the role of chief customer officer last year. Sisk previously served as COO of OSC-WEBco, and rose to the executive ranks at Procter & Gamble.
Rent the Runway names new CFO
Sid Thacker will become the new chief financial officer of Rent the Runway, effective May 25. Thacker currently serves as senior vice president of FP&A, and previously served as a public investor.
Thacker succeeds Scarlett O’Sullivan, who served for more than seven years and helped the fashion rental service go public.
In an initial public appearance, Thacker fielded questions from analysts on the company’s first quarter earnings call last week.
Dollar General makes leadership appointments
Dollar General made a pair of leadership appointments, according to Chain Store Age. They include:
Peggie Fort is joining the retailer as VP of inventory and demand management. She brings more than 30 years of experience, most recently as head of planning and allocation for specialty retail at Wayfair. Fort will oversee forecasting, ordering and inventory levels in collaboration with other departments.
Kelly Collier was promoted to senior VP and assistant general counsel. She will oversee the business law team, and advise on operations and strategic initiatives.
Groupon names CFO
Jiri Ponrt. (Courtesy photo)
Jiri Ponrt is the new CFO of Groupon, succeeding Damien Schmitz.
Ponrt brings experience from Pale Fire Capital, which is Groupon’s largest shareholder. He als served as CFO of European ecommerce platform Alza.cz.
The move comes after Groupon laid off 1,000 employees amid restructuring that took place through two rounds in August 2022 and January 2023. It is among a host of tech companies seeking to rein in costs in a tougher economic environment.
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.”