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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, retail and CPG landscape.
This week, Target’s CEO is staying put, while Whole Foods and Starbucks are making way for new leaders. Plus, Gopuff brings on an Amazon veteran, kate spade new york is forming a design leadership partnership, and reorganizing at Lowe’s prompted the departure of its top marketing executive.
Check out the latest leadership updates:
Brian Cornell will remain as CEO of Target for the next three years, the retailer announced on Wednesday. With these plans in place, Cornell will stay with Target past the traditional retirement age of 65, and Target’s board of directors has eliminated its retirement policy as a result, which was designed to “initiate a conversation” about retirement with a CEO at that age. “We enthusiastically support [Cornell's] commitment and his continued leadership, especially considering his track record and the company’s strong financial performance during his tenure,” said Monica Lozano, lead independent director of Target’s Board of Directors.
Arthur Valdez will retire from Target as EVP and chief supply chain and logistics officer. Valdez joined Target in 2016. In the ensuing years, it has pursued a strategy that centered stores as it grew in both physical and digital retail. Valdez will be succeeded by Gretchen McCarthy, Target’s SVP of global inventory management. An 18-year veteran of Target, McCarthy has held multiple leadership roles at the company.
Laxman Narasimhan will be the next CEO of the Starbucks. He will transition to the top role at the Seattle-based coffee chain over the next six months as founder Howard Schultz hands off the reins following a stint as interim CEO on April 1, 2023. Narasimhan previously served as CEO of Reckitt, the multinational consumer goods company that owns brands like Lysol, Clearasil and Woolite. He also held various leadership roles at PepsiCo. Starbucks has been undergoing a transition in 2022 as Schultz returned to the CEO role and initiated a shakeup among the top ranks that was designed to last into the next CEO's tenure.
Laxman Narasimhan. (Photo via Reckitt)
Matt O’Toole will be elevated from CEO of Reebok to executive vice chairman of Authentic Brands Group, which became the sportswear maker’s parent company through acquisition in March 2022. Beginning in January 2023, O’Toole will work with ABG’s leadership team on brand acquisitions, strategic initiatives and supporting the expansion of Reebok. With this move, Todd Krinsky will be promoted to CEO of Reebok. A 38-year veteran of Reebok, Krinsky previously served as VP of Reebok Design Group and led the brand’s Classics business, WWD reported.
Jason Buechel officially stepped into the CEO role of Whole Foods on September 1. He succeeded cofounder John Mackey in the leadership position of the Amazon-owned grocer upon retirement. A nine-year veteran of the company, Buechel previously served as chief operating officer. Whole Foods currently has 534 stores with 50 more stores in the pipeline, and a growing omnichannel operation thanks in part to Amazon’s head-turning acquisition in 2017.
Hannah Gibson is being promoted to the role of CEO at Ocado Retail, effective September 20. Ocado Retail oversees an online supermarket in the UK. Gibson previously served as chief product officer at Ocado Technology, which provides access to Ocado’s platform for Ocado Retail as well as other businesses. She also served as head of Ocado Zoom, a grocery delivery service that launched prior to Ocado Retail.
Soumya Sriraman. (Courtesy photo)
Qurate Retail Group, the video commerce company that owns QVC, HSN and Zulily, announced a pair of leadership hires on Wednesday:
- Soumya Sriraman was named president of streaming at Qurate Retail Group, overseeing a new business unit for livestream shopping. Sriraman previously served as head of Prime Video channels at Amazon and was the founding CEO of UK digital video service BritBox.
- Stacy Bowe was named chief merchandising officer for QVC US, bringing experience from G-III Apparel Group and Macy's.
Marisa Thalberg left the role of EVP and chief brand and marketing officer at home improvement retailer Lowe’s. According to CNBC, the company is undergoing a wider reorganization. It moved marketing under EVP of merchandising Bill Boltz, and eliminated Thalberg’s role in the process. In turn, the company’s online team was moved from merchandising to technology. Thalberg joined Lowe’s in 2020, bringing experience from Taco Bell, Estee Lauder, Unilever Cosmetics International and Revlon.
Patrick Bigatel joined quick commerce service Gopuff as VP of grocery, according to reports and a LinkedIn post. Bigatel previously spent 15 years at Amazon, serving as general manager in categories including heavy-bulky, pet products and outdoor sporting goods. Bigatel wrote that Gopuff was a leading retail disruptor on par with others he has seen, noting, “The focus on customer-first innovations and technologies, underpinned by a unique vertically integrated supply chain, has benefits extending throughout the company down to the experience our customers receive with every order.”
Tom Mora and Jennifer Lyu are joining kate spade new york as principal designers. Both are serving in the role of SVP and head of product design across particular categories. Mora will lead design in categories including ready-to-wear, footwear, jewelry, home and licensed lifestyle, while Lyu will lead design in handbags and accessories. Mora previously served as creative director of women’s and licensed product at Cole Haan, while Lyu led design of handbags and small leather goods at Tory Burch.
Pam Quintiliano. (Courtesy photo)Pam Quintiliano was appointed head of investor relations at Macy’s. She will succeed Mike McGuire, who is retiring from that role. Quintiliano previously served as group VP of investor relations at Abercrombie & Fitch, and spent more than 20 years as an equity research analyst, focusing on retail and manufacturing.
Trending in Careers
Retail media networks must drive sales incrementality, a new report from the Association of National Advertisers states.
Retail media networks are creating a new layer to the relationship between brands and retailers, and a new report indicates that brands in particular are still navigating the growing pains.
The last two years brought fast growth of retail media networks, as retailers recognized the value of providing advertising opportunities through ecommerce marketplaces that grew rapidly during the pandemic, and the value of the first-party data they possessed in a world where third-party cookies and IDFA are becoming less valuable tools. For a historically low-margin business like retail, digital advertising also presents an opportunity for a high-margin business line of 50-70%.
Brands have proven to be eager adopters as they sought new ways to reach customers in this environment, as well. According to eMarketer, ad revenue from retail media networks will reach $52 billion in 2023 and $61 billion in 2024. Over the next two years, retail media will account for one in five digital ad dollars spent by marketers. The spend is only expected to grow. According to a survey from the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), 73% of brands said they expect to be spending somewhat or significantly more on retail media in the future than they do today.
However, this proliferation has also created “more marketing decisionmaking complexity for advertisers,” ANA CEO Bob Liodice said in a new report.
The need to navigate multiple networks and still-developing tools to maximize the opportunity presented by retail media is leading to a multitude of approaches. Layer on top of that the fact that brands are both selling goods and advertising through retailers, and it’s clear the landscape is being reshaped.
A recent report from the Association of National Advertisers uncovered the areas where fault lines may emerge under the surface:
- Reluctant buyers: 88% believe they are somewhat or heavily influenced by retailers to buy advertising on retail media networks.
- A multitude of players: 56% said they are currently working with five or more different retail media networks.
- Differing goals: Two-thirds of respondents see driving conversion as the most important investment. Only 12% indicated the most important objective was “to invest for future brand growth,” and 7% cited “to drive awareness.”
The results underscore key areas where relationships between brands and retailers can be strengthened.
Sales vs. growth. Retail media must be able to drive both conversions of a single sale in the lower funnel, and brand equity growth in the mid- to upper-funnel.
As one respondent put it, "The jury is still out on if the RMNs are truly driving sales incrementality."
This also has implications for how a brand is budgeting retail media. Some brands are shifting dollars from shopper marketing, brand marketing, and trade spending, which could put the emphasis on short-term sales. But as another respondent put it, "There is concern that while attribution shows RMNs are driving brand sales, they are not necessarily driving brand growth. This is especially concerning where incremental RMN spending is being sourced from brand building budgets."
Standard measurement. Brands want to see an improvement in transparency in measurement. They also want results to be measured in the same ways across platforms. Further, brands believe retail media networks are not fully optimized for their KPIs.
This all leaves room for retailers to show they truly understand what brands are seeking from retail media, and show how they are delivering, all while reducing complexity.
As the report put it, “The next phase of growth for RMNs and value creation for brands will be through RMNs assuming shared responsibility with advertisers for driving brand growth, and demonstrating the ability of their platforms to drive incrementality and positive ROAS for brands. In other words, the next stage of growth will be driven by results versus relationships.”