10 May 2022
On the Move: C-level shifts at Walgreens, Torrid, Target and more
Check out the latest updates on leadership and hiring around ecommerce and consumer goods.
Check out the latest updates on leadership and hiring around 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, Target, Walgreens and Torrid made moves across the leadership suite, Conagra and Unilever made key appointment and StockX named its first chief impact officer.
Here’s the roundup:
Grocery ecommerce company Boxed said it rounded out its leadership team with three key hires as it makes the transition from private to public company. Here’s a look:
Chad Cornstubble (Photo via Carhartt)
Workwear brand Carhartt appointed Chad Cornstubble as SVP of direct-to-consumer to attract customers both on ecommerce and brand-owned retail stores. Cornstubble most recently served as VP of ecommerce, marketing technology, and digital operations at lifestyle accessories company Fossil Group.
Conagra Brands appointed Lucy Brady to the role of president of grocery and snacks, effective June 15. In the role, Brady will oversee brands such as Slim Jim, Duncan Hines, and Angie's BOOMCHICKAPOP.
Brady previously served as an executive at McDonald’s over the last six years as chief digital customer engagement officer and SVP of corporate strategy, business development and innovation. Prior to that, she spent 19 years at Boston Consulting Group.
Vanessa LeFebvre. (Courtesy photo)
HanesBrands named Vanessa LeFebvre as president of global activewear. In the role, she will lead growth of the Champion brand with a focus on innovation, key markets and new channels.
In her last role, LeFebvre oversaw ecommerce as SVP of commercial for North America at Adidas. She previously served as president of Lord and Taylor, and held leadership and merchandising roles at Stitch Fix, Macy’s, Daffy’s and T.J. Maxx.
Luxury retailer Matchesfashion is bringing on Dave Murray as chief financial officer. Murray previously served as senior VP of finance at Farfetch, another luxury retail platform in the ecommerce space. He also spent four years at Amazon, and a decade at Sainsbury’s. Murray will succeed Sean Glithero when he starts in the fall.
Stéphane Gerschel (Photo courtesy of Movado)
Watch and jewelry brand Movado Group named Stéphane Gerschel as chief marketing officer. No stranger to luxury, Gerschel brings prior experience as managing director of Pomellato for Kering Group, and he also worked for LVMH’s Bulgari and Veuve Clicquot.
DTC mattress firm Purple appointed Eric Haynor to the role of chief operating officer. Haynor brings 30 years of supply chain management experience, most recently as SVP of global industrial supply chain at Ecolab. He will apply this to help the company take “a more wholistic approach to the end-to-end supply chain,” per a news release.
The move comes after former COO John Legg left the company in April. The appointment is effective June 6.
Deb Hall Lefevre (Photo via LinkedIn)
Starbucks is set for tech upgrades as it looks to improve the mobile app used by its workforce and start selling NFTs. With these moves, the coffee chain is also adding new tech leadership. Deb Hall Lefevre, a former McDonald’s CTO and VP of IT, took the CTO role on May 2, Reuters reported.
Damien Hooper-Campbell (Courtesy photo)
Sneaker, apparel and collectible marketplace StockX appointed Damien Hooper-Campbell as its first-ever chief impact officer. In the role, Hooper-Campbell will oversee diversity, equity and inclusion, as well as environmental, social, and community engagement initiatives. Hooper-Campbell served in similar roles at tech companies including eBay, Zoom, Google, Uber and Goldman Sachs.
Target announced key updates to its leadership team with a series of announcements that involve shifts for longtime team members. Here’s the roundup:
David Pollett. (Courtesy photo)
Tradeswell, the ecommerce operating system that unifies retail, marketing, inventory, and finance data for DTC brands and CPG category leaders, appointed David Pollett to the role of chief revenue officer. Pollett brings experience as CRO of convergent TV platform Cross Screen Media, and has held leadership roles at Drawbridge, Neustar, Bank of America and LendingTree. Pollett will be responsible for accelerating company growth and transforming go-to-market operations.
Tara Simon. (Courtesy photo)
The Estée Lauder Companies announced that Too Faced Cosmetics cofounders Jerrod Blandino and Jeremy Johnson will depart the brand on June 30 as they embark on new entrepreneurial projects. In turn, Tara Simon will be promoted to global brand president. She joined the beauty brand in 2020 as SVP and general manager, after previously serving in leadership roles at Ulta Beauty. Blandino and Johnson started Too Faced in 1998 and led it to cult status. The brand was acquired by Estee Lauder in 2017.
DTC plus-size apparel brand Torrid announced a series of leadership team changes and board of directors. Here’s a look:
Samir Singh. (Photo via LinkedIn)
Consumer goods company Unilever promoted Samir Singh to chief marketing officer for personal care, the executive wrote on LinkedIn. In this role, he will serve as marketing lead for brands like Axe/Lynx, Closeup, Dove, Lifebuoy, Lux, Pepsodent, Rexona/Sure and more.
Used car ecommerce platform Vroom promoted Tom Shortt from COO to CEO, succeeding Paul Hennessy. At the same time, current board chair Robert Mylod will become independent executive chair of the board. On a recent first quarter earnings call, the move was cast as part of a business realignment plan to reduce costs and create more operational efficiencies. Meanwhile, ecommerce sales were up 60% year-over-year for the company.
Left to right: Linh Peters, Luke Rauch and Bala Visalatha (Courtesy photos)
Walgreens made a series of appointments to C-level roles at it looks to bolster leadership in retail products and customer roles.
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.