Check out the latest hiring and departure news in ecommerce and consumer goods.
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, top apparel and DTC brands are set to see new leaders. Plus, Estée Lauder and L’Oréal USA make key digital appointments, and Hasbro elevates a chief people officer.
Check out this week’s roundup:
Kyle Leahy and Emily Weiss. (Photo via Glossier)
Chief Commercial Officer Kyle Leahy, who is a former executive at Nike, Cole Haan and American Express, will assume the CEO role at the prominent DTC beauty brand.
Glossier Chief Marketing Officer Ali Weiss is also set to leave her position, Bloomberg reports.
Weiss founded Glossier in 2014, launching a beauty brand to sell cosmetics out of the success of her blog Into the Gloss. It became a trendsetter, while forging a path for a direct-to-consumer business model in the beauty industry. But after setting out to build a tech platform in recent years, the brand shifted strategy and laid off one-third of its corporate team, or more than 80 people, this year. For further reading, a recent Bustle profile charted the rise of Glossier under Weiss.
Meghan Davis is CEO of Thinx. (Courtesy photo)
Thinx will have a new CEO next month.
Meghan Davis, an executive at Johnson & Johnson, is set to succeed Maria Molland in the leadership role of the period underwear brand.
Davis brings more than 20 years of experience in health and beauty. She served as J&J’s country director for consumer health in Portugal, Northern Europe marketing director for the consumer division, and regional marketing manager for beauty in North America.
Molland is stepping down to spend more time with her young children. In a statement, she called the job “the best I’ve ever had.”
"This was not an easy decision but one that I know is right for me personally. It has been a privilege to serve the Thinx community of customers and work with an amazing group of talented people,” Molland said. She will remain with the company until June 30 to assist with the transition.
The leadership shift comes after Kimberly-Clark acquired a majority interest in Thinx in February.
Under Armour CEO Patrik Frisk. (Courtesy photo)
Frisk joined the Baltimore-based apparel brand in 2017 and rose to the CEO role in 2020, after founder Kevin Plank stepped down.
The company said it is conducting an “internal and external search process” for the next CEO.
Colin Browne, the company’s COO, will serve as interim CEO, Browne is credited with modernizing the company’s DTC strategy and supply chain organization. He has served as COO since 2020, overseeing supply chain, IT, go-to-market strategy, distribution and more.
Doug Howe (Photo via Kohl's).
Chief Merchandising Officer Doug Howe and Chief Marketing Officer Greg Revelle are departing the company. The moves were made as the company is reportedly searching for a buyer.
In a securities filing, the company said it is conducting a search for a replacement, and added that, “We have a deep bench of marketing and merchandising talent that will ensure the continued execution of our strategies.”
Before the week was over, Designer Brands announced that Howe will be the new president of DSW Designer Shoe Warehouse, leading day-to-day operations. Prior to Kohl’s, Howe held leadership positions at Qurate Retail Group, Old Navy, Walmart and May Department Stores.
Heiko Schäfer. (Photo via Hugo Boss)
Swiss outdoor company Mammut Sports Group named Heiko Schäfer as CEO, effective September 1. Schäfer most recently served as COO of Hugo Boss, and previously held leadership positions at Tom Tailor Group and adidas. A news release announcing the move touted his “deep understanding of brand dynamics in a digital environment.”
“I am very happy to return to the world of sporting goods and to work for the iconic outdoor brand Mammut,” Schäfer said in a statement. “I will focus all my energy and passion on working with the team to unlock Mammut's full potential to make the brand even more attractive and accessible to mountaineering enthusiasts."
Damien Huang. (Courtesy photo)
Last week, On the Move reported on the news that Damien Huang departed the role of CEO at Eddie Bauer. This week brings an announcement about his next destination.
Huang is set to become the president of outdoor gear brand Cotopaxi. Along with experience at Eddie Bauer, Huang also previously held leadership roles at Patagonia and The North Face.
With the hire, Cotopaxi founder Davis Smith will remain in the CEO role.
"We are elated to name Damien to our team. He's an incredibly talented individual with an authentic passion for our mission to fight extreme poverty. His position as President is integral to the next stage of growth for Cotopaxi," Smith said in a statement.
This comes shortly after the news that the brand hired Marissa Magno as VP of people and inclusion.
(Photo via Jane.com)
Boutique marketplace Jane.com hired David John Smith as chief technology officer.
Jane.com is a marketplace were more than 2,000 small businesses sell fashion accessories, home decor, children's clothing and more. Smith will be charged with “transforming the business away from a three-day flash deal marketplace to an evergreen model where sellers can offer products indefinitely,” according to a news release.
Smith previously served as CTO of Fashionphile, a reseller of pre-owned luxury goods and recommerce partner to Neiman Marcus. He also served as VP of technology at Nordstrom, and led teams at TechStyle Fashion Group.
Gibu Thomas. (Courtesy photo)
Elevating a leading ecommerce role, The Estée Lauder Companies announced Gibu Thomas was promoted to EVP of ELC Online.
"Gibu’s promotion to Executive Vice President recognizes his exceptional leadership of ELC Online since joining in November 2020, including driving successful initiatives across ecommerce, technology infrastructure, digital media, mobile and omnichannel,” said Fabrizio Freda, CEO of The Estée Lauder Companies, in a statement. “Gibu is a highly talented and respected digital expert. He continues to leverage his deep expertise and forward-thinking strategy to drive and elevate our Online business globally, while bringing his dynamic, entrepreneurial leadership style to the talented and dedicated Online team.”
Gibu joined the beauty and personal care company in 2020 after a five-year stint leading ecommerce at PepsiCo. He also previously served as SVP of mobile and digital at Walmart.
Debbie Rose Woloshin. (Photo via LinkedIn)
Woloshin was previously chief marketing officer at Marc Jacobs, led marketing at Frye Company and Ann, Inc., and spent more than 17 years at the Jones Group.
Najuma Atkinson. (Courtesy photo)
Atkinson succeeds Dolph Johnson, the global chief human resources officer who is retiring after more than two decades at Hasbro.
Before joining Hasbro in October 2021, Atkinson served in leadership roles across human resources, customer experience and strategy at Dell Technologies.
Han Wen. (Courtesy photo)
Han Wen is taking the role of chief digital and marketing officer at L’Oréal USA.
The role includes oversight of consumer insights & intelligence, digital go-to-market-strategies, marketing innovation, media planning and buying, and creating a center of excellence in content and digital services.
Wen previously served as CDMO of the company’s Professional Products Division, leading digital transformation since 2017. She also held leading digital roles at L’Oréal Paris, Clarins Group and LVMH.
“Han brings deep experience and expertise to this strategic role at a time when digital is at the forefront of our business. Her outstanding track record and extensive knowledge of how we can best engage with our consumers and accompany them in both offline and online environments will be critical to our success,” said David Greenberg, L’Oréal USA CEO, in a statement.
She succeeds Marc Toulemonde, who held the position since 2020.
Following the rise of NFTs, Walmart, eBay and Meta are launching new tools to facilitate the exchange of digital goods.
Ecommerce has put the tools of the internet to powerful use, but it has long been centered on the movement of physical goods.
Over the last several years, a new wave of technologists and entrepreneurs have begun to explore the introduction of digital goods to ecommerce, where the value exchange lives entirely in the world of bits, without atoms.
After a period of study and testing, large platforms and retailers are beginning to move ahead with putting new tools to facilitate these transactions into wide release.
The area of digital collectibles is emerging as one of particular interest. Limited edition, collectors’ items have long commanded their own markets. Think of trading cards, action figures, limited-run pressings or the art market as a whole. Now, these are taking digital form. The emergence of tools such as nonfungible tokens (NFTs), which store harness blockchain technology to allow individual versions of digital creations to be available for buying and trading via cryptocurrency, are enabling the beginnings of a new kind of market.
Of the large platforms where ecommerce takes place, eBay has been among the earliest movers in this area. Given that the marketplace is already a place where physical collectibles are exchanged, the extension into digital collectibles makes sense in theory.
eBay has taken steps to put it into practice. The marketplace began allowing buying and selling of NFTs on its platform in 2021. The stated ideas behind the launch made it clear that it saw digital collectibles fitting into the platform.
“eBay has always been the world’s destination for buying and selling the most unique and hard-to-find items - and we’ll continue to be the destination for collectors of all kinds, physical or digital,” said Jordan Sweetnam, SVP and general manager of the Americas for eBay, wrote in an announcement at the time of the NFT expansion in 2021. “This opportunity unlocks new assets for collecting, new ways for people to fuel their passion, and expands eBay’s appeal to a new generation of collectors.”
The marketplace has picked up activity in this area this year. In May 2022, it launched an initial collection of NFTs on the web3 platform OneOf, which were new interpretations of iconic athletes featured on Sports Illustrated covers. In June, the marketplace took another step toward facilitating transactions when it acquired NFT marketplace KnownOrigin, which allows artists and creators to showcase and exchange digital works for collectors.
The eBay vault. (Courtesy photo)
For eBay, this is part of a wider strategy to provide space for the digital exchange of collectibles as a whole. It is also making big investments in physical collectibles, including a new vault for trading cards that provides storage and a digital marketplace, and the $295 million acquisition of TCGPlayer, a marketplace for collectible trading cards like Magic the Gathering and Pokemon. Those goods will require specific tools to solve their own set of challenges, including authentication to ensure items are what they say they are, and ensure they are truly limited in quantity. Yet it is emerging alongside the digital collectibles, and it’s clear that eBay sees the two sides fitting under its tent.
“One reason that we're excited to launch the Vault is because it can enable real-time transactions for physical or digital goods,” eBay CEO Jamie Ianone said on the company’s recent second quarter earnings call. “This intersection is nascent, the one that collectible enthusiasts are increasingly exploring. This is part of the rationale behind our second quarter acquisition of KnownOrigin.”
A potential connecting point was made more clear on Monday, when Walmart entered the fray. The retailer announced a new partnership with the National Entertainment Collectibles Association that will result in a new platform, called AutoT, that enables digital collectibles.
AutoT will have a series of rare variants of collectibles and figures that are signed by stars and creators.
Here's how it works: To access the platform, customers will be able to purchase a box from Walmart that is tied to a specific pop culture property. Upon purchase, they enter the digital code found on their Walmart receipt into a personal account at AutoTVault.com. This reveals which collectible item they’ve received. Collectors will be able to store a digital collectible for up to two years free of charge in the NECA’s Vault, or have a physical item shipped to them.
Launching on Oct. 6 at Walmart’s website, the platform will debut with collectible figures from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, featuring Shredder, Renet and Foot Soldier, with potential for fans to receive versions of the digital figures signed by co-creator Kevin Eastman. Exclusive lithographs from the TV icon and artist Bob Ross will also be available at launch. New products are set to drop at regular intervals, Walmart said.
A Shredder action figure. (Courtesy photo)
For Walmart, this is an extension into a new form of commerce as it looks toward the future of retail, which has long been built around physical goods. Coupled with last week’s announcement that it is building a large experience in Roblox, it’s clear the world’s largest retailer wants to have a presence wherever goods are being bought and sold. The throughline here is that digital collectibles can usher in an evolution of shopping.
“At Walmart, we are always finding new ways to bring innovation and one-of-a-kind offerings to our customers,” said Laura Rush, SVP of electronics, toys and seasonal at Walmart US, in a statement. “NECA’s unique collectibles and inventive AutoT platform offer a new type of shopping experience to shoppers, ensuring that Walmart is bringing the best in tech and entertainment to customers nationwide.”
This may be a test not only of the tools and shopping functions, but also where value is shown. Will a person find value in a digital work that can be linked to its creator in the same they would a physical work that has touched the artist's hands? In other words, can Bob Ross' resurgence courtesy of memes and YouTube translate to people wanting to own a piece of his work?
NFTs on Instagram. (Photo via Meta)
Given that art is involved, it's also worth considering what will happen when the gallery wall is removed. The ability to display and share collectibles in common spaces may also be valuable. One avenue arrived last week. Meta opened up the capability for users to share digital collectibles that they have purchased or bought on Facebook and Instagram to everyone. These collectibles can also be shared between the two platforms. Making good on an announcement it made in May, Meta said users can now connect a digital wallet and display NFTs from those wallets on the platform, The NFTs will have a shimmer effect, and public information like a description of the NFT can be displayed. The work can be attributed to both the creator and collector.
As Ianone referenced, these are nascent launches. They may not be the versions that last, but they are important steps toward pushing this form of collectibles into wide release. Provide the tools, figure out what people find valuable and new markets can take root.