03 May 2022
On the Move: Meet the new CMOs at Dickies, Jordan Brand, PF Flyers
Here's a look at the latest hiring moves around consumer goods and ecommerce.
Here's a look at the latest hiring moves around consumer goods and ecommerce.
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, we’ve got updates on leadership transitions at Thrasio and Osprey, news about a quartet of new CMOs and key growth roles at Nike and Reebok.
Here’s a full roundup:
Greg Greeley (Courtesy photo)
Ecommerce aggregator Thrasio announced a new CEO this week. Greg Greeley, formerly an executive with Amazon and AirBnB, will succeed Carlos Cashman, a cofounder who will remain on the company’s board. The change is effective in August.
Launched in 2018, Thrasio is among the most prominent among businesses that pioneered a model of acquiring consumer goods brands selling on Amazon, and applying tech and operations expertise across a portfolio to unlock growth. The Boston-based company owns more than 200 brands.
At the same time as the CEO shift, the company is also making layoffs. According to Techcrunch, the Thrasio is set to inform “a portion” of its staff of layoffs this week as part of a reorganization designed to “properly absorb and grow the businesses we have acquired, make sure we have rigorous processes and controls, and then look to re-scale our team in the optimal areas for growth," leaders wrote in a memo.
David L. Casey (Courtesy photo)
Tapestry, Inc., the parent of luxury brands including Coach, Kate Spade and Stuart Weitzman, hired David L. Casey as chief inclusion and social impact officer. The newly created position is designed to reflect the company’s “ongoing commitment to building Tapestry’s inclusive culture and creating a company that truly reflects the diversity of its customers,” according to an announcement.
Casey previously served in chief diversity officer roles at CVS Health and Anthem.
“Tapestry’s approach to corporate responsibility is based on driving real, measurable change towards a more equitable, inclusive and sustainable world,” Tapestry CEO Joanne Crevoiserat said in a statement. “We believe that difference sparks brilliance and are building a culture where all our employees can be their authentic selves. To that end, we are extremely pleased that David is joining our leadership team. He brings to Tapestry over 20 years of experience in strategic EI&D work and is widely recognized as an expert in the field. David’s passion for EI&D will be invaluable as we build on the strong foundation and inclusive culture already in place.”
Maggie Gauger was promoted to the role of global VP of direct acceleration, Footwear News reported on Monday, citing a LinkedIn post. Gauger has 20 years of experience at the apparel and footwear brand, having most recently led a team of more than 150 people as VP of marketplace. Gauger will play a key leadership role in Nike’s Consumer Direct Acceleration strategy, which includes emphasizing DTC and digital channels, while at the same time pulling back from some wholesale channels.
Shannon Watkins. (Photo via Aflac)
In other news from Nike, Jordan Brand named Shannon Watkins as chief marketing officer.
Watkins most recently served as chief brand and marketing officer at Aflac, where she played a key role in a partnership with ESPN's College Gameday, and drove a renewed focus on Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Sportico reported.
“We need innovative leadership, someone who can lead us into the future by pushing creativity, championing diversity, and bringing our purpose to life,” Jordan Brand CEO Craig Williams told Sportico. “Shannon’s experience across multiple industries and business sectors will do just that, helping to lead our marketing efforts into the future.”
Watkins' appointment comes after a lengthy search to replace Sean Tresvant, who is now chief brand officer at Taco Bell. She begins in the role on May 16.
Steve Robaire (Courtesy photo)
Steve Robaire is the new EVP of Reebok International, parent company Authentic Brands Group announced.
The longtime Reebok executive is being tapped to lead the sportswear brand’s global expansion, and serve as the first point of contact for Reebok’s international partners.
Over a nearly 15-year career with Reebok, Robaire honed international experience while serving in Greater China, Amsterdam and Paris.
“Steve’s track record in growing Reebok’s market share and sales growth in Greater China and Europe makes him an excellent leader for driving Reebok’s business across all international markets,” said Reebok Chief Brand Officer Jarrod Weber, in a statement. “There’s an incredible appetite for the brand across key markets, and with Steve leading the charge, we are primed for success.”
The appointment is effective July 1.
Angela Hsu (Courtesy photo)
Home goods marketplace Overstock named Angela Hsu as its new chief marketing officer, according to Furniture Today. Bringing more than 25 years of experience in marketing areas including digital, ecommerce and social media, Hsu previously held leadership roles at Lamps Plus, News Corp and Warner Bros.
“I’m humbled by the opportunity to collaborate with a group of incredibly talented marketers and a winning executive leadership team,” Hsu said in a LinkedIn post announcing the move. “I look forward to shaping the way we create dream homes for all and delivering sustainable, profitable market share growth.”
Layne Rigney (Courtesy photo)
Outdoors brand Osprey Packs announced the departure of CEO Layne Rigney, effective April 28, Bicycle Retailer and Industry News reports. Rigney joined the company as president in 2016 before assuming the role of CEO. He overaw the launch of Osprey’s DTC channel, and recently guided the company through a $414 million acquisition by consumer goods company Helen of Troy.
In appointment news, Noel Geoffroy will join the Helen of Troy as chief operating officer on May 9, overseeing day-to-day business. Geoffroy brings 25 years of experience in president and general manager roles at Sanofi, Kellogg, H. J. Heinz and Procter & Gamble.
Sarah Crockett (Courtesy photo)
VF Corp.-owned workwear brand Dickies appointed Sarah Crockett as global chief marketing officer as the company gets ready to celebrate its 100th anniversary.
Crockett brings prior CMO experience from Backcountry and Burton Snowbards, as well as marketing leadership roles at Vans and REI.
“As we continue to focus on global growth, I know Sarah’s expertise will help accelerate our business through a digital-first mindset as we look to deepen our relationships with consumer communities globally,” said Dickies Brand President Denny Bruce, in a LinkedIn post.
Lisa Lewis (Courtesy photo)
Lifestyle shoe company PF Flyers hired Lisa Lewis as chief marketing officer. In the role, Lewis will be leading a relaunch of the brand. She brings 20 years of experience at brands including Piaggio Fast Forward, Sonos Inc., Converse’s Chuck Taylor Brand, Puma and Keds.
Founded in 1937, PF Flyers was acquired by DTC entrepreneur Kassia Davis from New Balance in 2021.
"After an extensive search, we've finally found a marketing executive who I think is the perfect fit for our brand. Lisa's industry experience is unmatched, and I'm very excited to see where we can take PF Flyers with her pioneering the marketing strategy," Davis said in a statement.
Chinese ecommerce company Alibaba made the following leadership changes among the services it owns, according to the South China Morning Post.
The moves follow a management shuffle in December that included the introduction of a new CFO and the appointment of new leaders for its ecommerce divisions. It arrived as Alibaba is facing increasing regulatory pressure from the Chinese government.
The retailer's marketplace is expanding quickly.
When it comes to ecommerce growth, was the pandemic a blip or a new trendsetter?
As we move further from the height of COVID-related closures, it’s a question that will start to be answered through the lens of history.
So far, the narrative of ecommerce growth in the U.S. from 2019-2022 has gone like this: Ecommerce’s share of overall retail saw a huge spike at the height of the pandemic in 2020-21, when goods in general were in demand and online shopping was necessary to preserve health and safety. Experts looked out and saw a permanent exponential change in the penetration of ecommerce as a share of retail that would last beyond the pandemic. Then, in 2022, everyone went back to stores and the trendline came back to 2019 levels. Growth was no longer exponential. There was still growth, but it was not happening as fast as during the pandemic period.
With this in mind, it’s worth pointing out that 2023 is the first year that there likely won’t be a pandemic-influenced swing to influence ecommerce growth. It is also a year where demand has suffered challenges amid inflation and interest rate hikes.
So as we seek to determine the importance of ecommerce to overall retail, it’s worth it to continue taking a close look at what growth trends retailers are seeing now, whether ecommerce is remaining resilient amid consumer pullback and how retailers are preparing for the future.
The latest example arrived this week from Macy’s. It’s a fitting one for the times. Overall, Macy’s is seeing a slowdown as consumers pull back on discretionary purchases, with sales declining 7% in the first quarter versus the same quarter of 2022. Digital sales were down 8%.
Macy’s is particularly susceptible to the macroeconomic headwinds that many brands and retailers are facing, as spending among the middle-income consumers it counts as a primary customer base is particularly softening, said GlobalData Managing Director Neil Saunders.
But while ecommerce is slowing overall, the importance it gained to Macy’s business during the pandemic is remaining in place.
In 2019, ecommerce made up 25% of Macy’s revenue, CEO Jeff Gennette told analysts on the company’s earnings call. That jumped to a high of 44% in 2020. By 2022, digital reached 33% of sales after the pandemic boom. In the first quarter of 2023, it remained at 33%. So, while the trend line dipped after shoppers returned to stores, ecommerce share still settled in at a higher post-lockdown point than it was before the pandemic.
This came in a quarter in which traffic was “relatively good” across both online and in-store, Macy’s CEO Jeff Gennette said. It was “flattish” online, and slightly up in stores.
“We do expect that this is the reset year with the penetration between them,” Gennette said. “But we do expect more aggressive growth in digital in the future versus stores as we think about '24 and beyond. And that's going to be foisted by a lot of ideas and strategies.
Over the last year, the retailer has made investments in boosting ecommerce, even as shoppers returned to stores. In a bid to boost the assortment of goods available online, Macy’s launched a marketplace in September 2022 that welcomes goods from third-party sellers.
The marketplace had an “outstanding” first quarter, said Macy’s President Tony Spring, who is poised to succeed Gennette as CEO next year. Gross merchandise value increased over 50% when compared to the fourth quarter of 2022, while the average order value and units per order for marketplace customers was 50% above those not shopping at the marketplace.
Macy’s is continuing to build the marketplace even as it racks up sales. The retailer added 450 brands, ending the quarter with 950 brands.
This is helping to draw in new customers, as well as younger existing customers who are buying more items, resulting in increased basket size.
“We're very excited as to how marketplace is really attracting the Gen Z customer, particularly in categories where it was not economically feasible for us to carry in the past,” Gennette said.
In the end, Gennette said a strong digital and social presence is key to attracting younger consumers. That's a different type of shopper than other age groups.
“We know the younger customer starts first online,” Gennette said. That behavior will still be in place as the generation gets older, and gains more buying power in the process.
Going forward, Macy’s is seeking to expand the model to other retail banners in its portfolio. Bloomingdale’s will open a marketplace in the early fall.
The Macy’s ecommerce trajectory isn’t that different from the wider U.S. ecommerce narrative detailed above. With one quarter of 2023 data, there is evidence that ecommerce share settled out at a higher point after the pandemic than where it started before COVID arrived. There is flattening now, but the retailer is taking it not as a sign of a slowdown, or a signal to change course. Rather, it sees changing consumer behavior as a reason to build for the future.