07 September 2022
CEO news from Target, Starbucks, Reebok and Whole Foods
On the Move has the latest leadership-level hires and transitions in retail and ecommerce.
On the Move has the latest leadership-level hires and transitions in retail 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, 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:
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 Moraand Jennifer Lyu are joiningkate 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.
Dealboard has funding and M&A updates from ecommerce aggregators and forecasting software.
This week, the aggregator space is active with M&A, IKEA is ready to roll out newly-purchased warehouse management software and Authentic Brands Group acquired a boot icon. Plus, there’s new investment to report for YouTube influencer Emma Chamberlain’s coffee brand and retail forecasting.
Here’s a look at the latest deals:
Chamberlain Coffee, the consumer brand founded by YouTube influencer Emma Chamberlain, raised $7 million in new funding.
The financing included backing from existing investors including Blazar Capital, Chamberlain and United Talent Agency. New investors include Volition Capital, Electric Feel Ventures, L.A. Libations and Noah Bremen, founder of PLTFRM.
The new funding follows the launch of a Ready-to-Drink (RTD) product and coffee pods. Previously, the brand raised a Series A in August 2022.
"Creating a uniquely inviting coffee brand has been my dream for so long now, and having key investors back us allows us to build Chamberlain Coffee in ways that feel fresh and exciting,” said Chamberlain, in a statement. “There are so many products I am eager to develop and projects I'm excited to get working on. With such an incredible team and group of investors I am more excited than ever to see what the future holds for Chamberlain Coffee."
Impact Analytics, a software company for retail supply chain and merchandise planning, raised new funding from Vistara Growth.
The new investment, the amount of which was not disclosed, comes after Impact raised funding in February 2021 and October 2022 from Argentum.
The funding will help Impact Analytics further develop its Impact Analytics SmartSuite product portfolio, which is designed to help optimize forecasting, merchandising and end-to-end lifecycle pricing. Rather than the traditional forecasting approach of basing decisions on the preceding year, Impact Analytics applies a model that includes 150 variables from internal and external sources, while combining recency and history. Clients include BJ's Wholesale Club, Dick's Sporting Goods, Puma and Tapestry.
Selva Ventures, a venture capital firm focused on consumer brands that promote healthier living, closed its second fund at $34 million, TechCrunch reported.
With the new funding, Selva will invest in brands across categories including health, wellness, beauty and personal care. The fund expects to write checks of $1-2 million in seed and Series A startups, while assisting in areas like finance, operations and retail partnerships.
Backers of the second fund include Unilever Ventures, PagsGroup and Obelysk.
Nautica and Forever 21 owner Authentic Brands Group acquired the intellectual property of Hunter, a 160-year-old British outdoor lifestyle brand known for its Wellington boots.
With the deal, ABG appointed longtime partners Batra Group and Marc Fisher to execute retail and ecommerce operations, as well as continue to expand the brand in the UK and U.S., respectively.
“At the intersection of fashion and outdoor, Hunter introduces another elevated global brand to Authentic’s diverse Lifestyle portfolio,” said Authentic CEO Jamie Salter, in a statement.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The investment arm of IKEA parent Ingka Group acquired the warehouse management software platform Made4Net.
As a result of the deal, Made4Net’s software will be deployed across IKEA’s 482 stores and fulfillment centers. Made4Net will continue to operate as an independent subsidiary of Ingka, with a headquarters in New Jersey. CEO Duff Davidson will remain at the helm of the company.
“Our business currently requires a better fulfillment operations system with more accurate data that better supports handling for our customers,” said Tolga Öncu, head of retail at Ingka Group, in a statement. “Our goal is to become leaders of life at home, serving more people in an omnichannel reality, whenever and however customers choose to meet us.”
European ecommerce aggregator SellerX acquired Elevate Brands, a U.S.-based aggregator.
The combined companies will be known as SellerX Group. It will comprise a portfolio that includes 80 Amazon-native private label consumer brands in categories including sports and outdoors, home, mobile accessories, pets and consumables. The portfolio will span over 40,000 products.
With the deal, SellerX Co-CEOs Philipp Triebel and Malte Horeyseck will lead SellerX Group, while Elevate Brands cofounders Ryan Gnesin, Jeremy Bell and Robert Bell will remain in key leadership positions.
“This acquisition combines our know-how and diversified portfolios of strong brands with a market-leading technology platform and strong operational infrastructure,” said Triebel, in a statement. “By leveraging our combined strengths, I am convinced we are well-positioned to drive further consolidation in the industry.”
Ecommerce aggregator Society Brands acquired Wolf Tactical, a tactical gear company.
Founded in 2017 by Tim Wu, Wolf Tactical makes products including DC belts, range belts to weighted vest and tactical backpacks.
"I started Wolf Tactical by myself as a side hustle with very limited knowledge of business and entrepreneurship. A combination of hard work and relentless learning allowed me to build it into a multi-million-dollar business," said Wu who will remain as brand president, in a statement. "With the help of Society Brands, I have access to untapped potential that I would not be able to achieve by myself.”