The management shakeupat True Value continued last month, as two more merchandising executives resigned their positions just weeks after senior vp and chief merchandising officer Steve Mahurin left to take over as vp-merchandising at Office Depot.
True Value announced May 19 that John Bonnot and Alex Ogle, division vps-merchandising, had chosen to leave the company and pursue new positions in the retail industry. This was the same day that Mike Clark, the former Sears executive and Mahurin’s replacement, was set to start in his new role.
“We thank both John and Alex for their service and wish them the best, both personally and professionally, as they embark on the next phase of their careers,” said Lyle Heidemann, president and CEO of True Value. “Alex and John served our store owners exceedingly well during their tenure with the co-op. Both are returning home to their families on the East and West Coasts, respectively.”
Alex Ogle could not be reached for comment, but it was confirmed that he has taken a position at Lowe’s in Mooresville, N.C.
Clark officially took the title of senior vp and chief merchandising officer May 19, bringing 35 years of merchandising experience to the Chicago-based co-op.
Heidemann called Clark “a proven, seasoned merchandising expert and corporate leader,” who will be “ invaluable as we continue our strong focus on the retail growth and success of our members.” Clark most recently oversaw merchandising for Orchard Supply Hardware (OSH), an 85-store California-based chain. At True Value, he will be responsible for leading a merchandising team that drives nearly $2.0 billion annually in product sales. He will oversee branding and business strategies around product assortments, global sourcing, procurement and pricing.
Bryan Ableidinger, owner of Parkrose True Value in Portland, Ore., said that True Value management had not yet given an explanation to members about the leadership changes in the merchandising department.
“I was very disappointed to see the departure of Alex and John and to not know why they left,” Ableidinger said. “I am very concerned for the entire supply chain at True Value. We went through a major shuffle after Steve arrived, and we seem to be starting over again. If a supplier needs stability any where, it is in the buying department.”
Bill Johnson, owner of Johnson True Value in Groton, Conn., said he’s hoping it will be business as usual with the new merchandising team. “If they just keep going in the same direction as what Steve was doing, it will be good,” he said. Johnson specifically praised programs like “ Never Out,” which involves 400 to 600 popular items True Value keeps well-stocked at the ware-house. “We don’t need any big changes—retail is retail—but just make it a little bit better.”
Mahurin’s departure at the end of March came just a couple of weeks after he addressed members at the True Value spring market in Orlando. He had joined the co-op in March 2004 after 13 years with Home Depot and almost immediately started a line review process. His team began working its way through each product category, trimming about $34 million worth of underperforming skus by the end of 2005. Mahurin also shored up the global sourcing department, patching in private labels where necessary and creating hundreds of what became known as Certified True Blue (CTB) product assortments.