Top Merchants Jeff Espersen and Mike Normart Exit Zappos

Executive changes continue at Zappos.com, as the e-tailer seeks to shape its future under new leadership.

According to a letter sent by the company to its brand partners yesterday and obtained by FN, longtime Zappos merchants Jeff Espersen and Mike Normart are no longer with the company, effective immediately.

The letter further states that Kathy Forstadt will step in as interim merchandising leader as an external search is conducted for a chief merchandising officer.

Espersen, who was GM and chief merchant, had been with Zappos for more than 12 years, leading the merchandising team through several evolutions, including the e-tailer’s transition to “holacracy” in 2015 and a series of top-level changes following co-founder Tony Hsieh’s retirement from the company in August 2020 and tragic death later that year.

Normart had been with company for roughly 19 years and served as senior director of merchandising.

In an official statement sent to FN, the company said, “Zappos is committed to delivering exceptional customer service, experience and innovation in everything we do. To further that mission, we recently made several changes to our leadership team that will further elevate the levels of service, selection and experience we provide to customers and brand partners.” Zappos declined to comment further.

Scott Schaefer, who was previously VP of finance at the e-tailer, stepped in to the chief executive role last last year, after CEO Kedar Deshpande resigned to take the lead post at Groupon.

Zappos has been at the forefront of e-commerce innovation since its founding in 1999. Though the company, which is a division of online behemoth Amazon.com, faces significantly more competition now in the digital space, its letter to vendors notes that 2021 brought “record breaking sales and customer growth.”

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