Industry Moves: Walmart Shakes Up Exec Ranks, Geox Promotes CFO to CEO + More

Jan. 17, 2020: Walmart‘s chief merchant is reportedly leaving his post as the big-box retailer shuffles its executive ranks. According to multiple media reports, Steve Bratspies — who served for more than four years in the role — is being replaced by company veteran Scott McCall. The firm also announced the appointment of Dacona Smith as COO of its United States unit. The position had been vacant since Judith McKenna took the helm at Walmart’s international arm in 2018.

Jan. 17, 2020: Geox has promoted CFO Livio Libralesso to the top role. He joined the firm in 2001 and served in a variety of roles including administration and finance director as well as corporate managing director. Libralesso succeeds Matteo Mascazzini, who held the post as CEO for two years.

Jan. 17, 2020: Gap Inc. has made big leadership changes. It announced the appointment of Mark Breitbard, formerly president and CEO of Banana Republic, as executive chief of its full portfolio of brands. It also named Teri List-Stoll EVP and CFO, while Julie Gruber takes on the role of EVP and global general counsel, corporate secretary and chief compliance officer. Additionally, Neil Fiske, president and CEO of the Gap brand, has exited the company.

Jan. 16, 2020: A year after Payless ShoeSource filed its second bankruptcy and announced it would shutter its North America business, the retailer is emerging from Chapter 11 with new management. Payless appointed Jared Margolis, who previously served as president of CAA-GBG, a joint venture of Global Brands Group and Creative Artists Agency, as its CEO. The Payless Latin America division, which the company opted to keep in operation after its 2019 bankruptcy, is its largest current business unit and will now be led by CEO Justo Fuentes, the company also announced today. Fuentes previously served as president of BATA Latin America.

Jan. 15, 2020: Target has announced the retirement of EVP and chief stores officer Janna Potts, who served the company for 30 years in a variety of leadership roles. Succeeding her is Mark Schindele, whose appointment is effective immediately. As part of the role, Schindele, who has been with the retailer for nearly two decades, most recently as SVP of properties, is responsible for overseeing Target’s nearly 1,900 stores.

Mark Schindele, Target
Target’s Mark Schindele.
CREDIT: Target

Jan. 15, 2020: JustFab has appointed Daria Burke as its CMO. The new exec, who joined the company in 2019, formerly served as the leader of fashion and retail advertising partnerships at Facebook. As marketing chief, she is responsible for leading JustFab’s customer acquisition strategy as well as driving global membership growth and revenue for the firm. Burke has prior experience as head of beauty strategy, innovation and experience at CVS, and she was one of the 10 founding team members of Rent the Runway.

Jan. 15, 2020: Andrew Blecher, SVP and chief communications officer at Hudson’s Bay Co., is stepping down to pursue other interests. He has been at the company since 2014, when the company acquired Saks Fifth Avenue, and was promoted to his current role in 2016.

Andrew Blecher, HBC
HBC’s Andrew Blecher.
CREDIT: HBC

Jan. 15, 2020: Jim Pisani is stepping down as Timberland’s global brand president, VF Corp. announced today. The outdoor brand said in a statement that Pisani, who assumed the post in August 2016, is exiting his role to move to the Midwest to be closer to his family. The search for Pisani’s successor is underway and Martino Scabbia Guerrini, VF Corp. EMEA region group president, will serve as Timberland’s acting global brand president, effective immediately. Guerrini will work with Pisani to ensure the transition goes smoothly, the company said. Pisani is a VF veteran, who also served as president of its Licensed Sports Group — including its Majestic business — from 2008 until joining Timberland.

Jim Pisani Timberland VF Corp
Timberland global brand president Jim Pisani, shot exclusively for FN.
CREDIT: Joshua Scott

Jan. 13, 2020: Iain Nairn has been named the president of Hudson’s Bay Co., reporting directly to CEO Helena Foulkes. The retail exec most recently served as CEO of Swedish design and stationery business kikki.K and previously held executive chief posts at Australia-based department store chain David Jones, Country Road Group and Witchery Group.

Jan. 13, 2020: Fanatics has promoted Gina Sprenger to the new role of chief strategic retail officer. The exec, who has worked at the firm since 2016, is tasked with heading merchandising, inventory management and field operations for the company’s strategic retail department. She will continue to report to global co-president of direct-to-consumer retail Jack Boyle and will join the executive leadership team led by CEO Doug Mack. She previously served as head of the e-commerce division for Fanatics’ NCAA and hardgoods businesses as well as the firm’s merchandising efforts in stores.

Jan. 13, 2020: Steven Cateron has been appointed senior creative director of Rebecca Taylor and Parker effective today, Vince Holding Corp. announced on Friday. In his position, Cateron will oversee all apparel design and creative services across the two brands. Cateron most recently served as creative director and SVP design at Club Monaco; he had worked for Club Monaco since 2009 and, earlier, he began his career at Theory.

Jan. 10, 2020: Joel Oblonsky, who was appointed CEO of Titan Industries in May 2018, has joined the Steve Madden team. The footwear executive’s new role is president of Anne Klein and Blondo, under Steven Madden Ltd. Oblonsky’s prior positions have included CEO of Nine West Group; president Polo and Lauren footwear brands, Lauren Accessories; and president and COO, Nina Footwear Corp.

Joel Oblonsky.
CREDIT: Jim Decker

Jan. 10, 2020: Ross Stores has announced the departure of Bernie Brautigan, who served as president of merchandising at Ross Dress for Less since 2016. Brautigan spent about 16 years as a merchandising executive at the firm. Senior merchant leaders under his areas of responsibility will now report directly to CEO Barbara Rentler.

Jan. 10, 2020: Zadig & Voltaire has named Rémy Baume as its president, reported FN’s sister publication WWD. He succeeds Jean-Jacques Guével, who took the top post at Balmain last month. Baume previously held the role of CEO at Kidiliz Group, which has created children’s apparel lines for brands including Kenzo, Jean-Paul Gaultier and Levi’s. He has also worked at LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton and served as a member of the executive committee of Carrefour Group.

Jan. 9, 2020: Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger parent PVH Corp. has announced the appointment of Tom Chu as its regional president of Asia Pacific, effective Feb. 1. Chu, who will report to company president Stefan Larsson, previously served as president of PVH’s Japan business and has been with the firm for more than six years. He succeeds Frank Cancelloni, who departs PVH at the end of March to pursue new opportunities.

Jan. 8, 2020: Lululemon has hired Nikki Neuburger as its chief brand officer. As part of her new role, Neuburger will be tasked with elevating the brand as well as leading its marketing, creative, communications and sustainability functions. She joins the team on Jan. 20 and will report to CEO Calvin McDonald. Neuburger previously served as the global head of marketing for Uber Eats and spent 14 years at Nike, most recently as its global VP of Nike Running.

Jan. 8, 2020: Bonpoint has named a new CEO. According to FN’s sister publication WWD, Pierre-André Cauche is joining the brand from IKKS Group, where he had served as chief since 2014. He succeeds Christian Piat, who was Bonpoint parent EPI’s Asia director and interim CEO of the French children’s wear company following the departure of Marine-Sabine Leclercq in May. Cauche started his career at KPMG then worked at labels Pimkie and Lynx Optique.

Jan. 6, 2020: Sequential Brands Group has appointed David Conn as director and CEO. The move comes amid a period of restructuring for the New York-based firm, which in October announced the departure of CEO Karen Murray, who served in the role for just two years. Conn most recently served as CEO of product development and sourcing for the ThreeSixty Group. He’s also had experience at jeans brand True Religion and Vans parent VF Corp.

Jan. 6, 2020: Coach has tapped Susan Pellish-Thaler as general manager and VP of North American wholesale, leading the business’s sales as well as field and operations teams. She reports directly to president of Coach North America Laura Dubin-Wander. Her previous experience includes the roles of SVP and group president at Camuto Group and president and SVP and general manager at Sam Edelman. She has also held various positions at Loehman’s, Saks Fifth Avenue and Anne Klein.

(L-R) Susan Pellish-Thaler, Lisa Mitchell, Marika Nanni and Libby Edelman at the FN Summit in 2014.

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