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Williams-Sonoma streamlines management as part of growth strategy

BY HBSDEALER Staff

As part of its continued growth strategy, Williams-Sonoma made several organizational changes to its management team.

Chief marketing officer Pat Connolly has been elevated to chief strategy and business development officer. Connolly will work closely with senior management to refine the company’s long-term strategy, including the development of new businesses, and the evaluation and execution of acquisitions and alliances that can provide significant growth. 

“Pat has devoted the past 35 years to building the company’s multichannel strategy and has been a driving force in our e-commerce growth,” said president and CEO Laura Alber.

Connolly will oversee all corporate communications, including continuing to partner with CFO Julie Whalen on investor relations activities. 

“I am excited to work with our outstanding leadership team to identify and capitalize on opportunities that can further enhance shareholder value,” said Connolly. 

Chief information officer John Strain has been promoted to the position of chief digital and technology officer. Strain will assume additional responsibility for the company’s digital and direct marketing efforts.

“John’s proven track record as CIO during the past eight years, and his almost two decades of experience in e-commerce technology will enable us to further integrate the rapid developments in digital technology into every aspect of our business,” Alber said.

Felix Carbullido has been promoted to the position of chief marketing officer, succeeding Connolly and reporting to Strain.

“Felix brings a broad range of experiences across merchandising, e-commerce, and executive management to this position. Felix is a proven leader, under whom the Pottery Barn direct business has become one of the largest and most profitable in the U.S. In his new position, Felix will oversee the marketing across all our brands,” said Strain. 

Dean Miller has been promoted to the position of COO.

“During the past 14 years, Dean has added significant value to the company in a number of positions of increasing responsibility. Most recently, as chief supply chain officer, Dean led the company’s vertical integration efforts in sourcing, the development of its domestic upholstered manufacturing operations, its global logistics network, and the regionalization of the company’s U.S. distribution network. This promotion recognizes the significant contributions that Dean has made, and the importance of all aspects of our supply chain in providing the best quality service to our customers,” said Alber.

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Champion Home Exteriors names a CEO

BY HBSDealer Staff

Todd Dickson has been named CEO at Cincinnati-based home improvement company Champion Home Exteriors, which spans more than 70 locations nationwide.

Dickson will be replacing James Mishler, who has been leading the company as CEO since 2012.

"Champion has enjoyed a long history of success since its founding more than 60 years ago by delivering a high level of satisfaction to its customer base, manufacturing high-quality home-improvement products and following through with strong customer service," Dickson said. "I believe there is a tremendous opportunity for Champion to increase its share in existing markets; successfully expand into new markets; and continue to develop inspiring solutions that will enable homeowners to increase the value, comfort, and curb appeal of their properties. I’m very excited to join the team."

Dickson’s background spans marketing, sales, finance, distribution, operations and general management in a direct-to-consumer capacity. He leaves his most recent role as chief revenue officer at Empire Today, a retailer of specialty flooring products.

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Greg Foran steps in as CEO at Walmart U.S.

BY Mike Troy

Walmart named Greg Foran president and CEO of its U.S. stores division to replace Bill Simon, who is leaving the company after an eight-year run.

Foran is a relative newcomer at Walmart, who joined the company in October 2011 and by March of 2012 had been elevated to the role of president and CEO of Walmart China. In that capacity, he reported to current Wal-Mart Stores president and CEO Doug McMillon, who at the time served as president and CEO of Walmart International. McMillon assumed his new role earlier this year prompting speculation that Simon would leave the company if he were passed over for the top job.

“Greg is one of the most talented retailers I’ve ever met. His depth of knowledge and global experience will bring a fresh perspective to our business,” said McMillon. “His passion for fresh food, experience in general merchandise and commitment to e-commerce will help us serve our customers even more effectively for years to come.”

Although he only briefly oversaw Walmart’s China operations, the team made significant progress with its assortment, pricing, store operations and compliance as Foran led strategic investments in the supply chain and improved the store portfolio, according to a Walmart statement. Foran was elevated to the role of president and CEO of Walmart Asia earlier this year to oversee the retailers business in Japan and India as well as China.

McMillon spoke highly of Simon who will transition out of the company in the next six months.

“During Bill’s eight years of service to Walmart, his passion for our mission, dedication to our associates and our customers, and innovative thinking pushed us forward,” McMillon said. “From the very beginning, his vision led us to lower the cost of health care through our $4 prescription offering. And, most recently, he put us on a path to future growth with small formats and efforts that integrate digital and physical retail.”

Foran will assume his new responsibilities on August 9. Prior to joining Walmart three years ago, Foran held a number of roles with Woolworths, the leading retailer in Australia and New Zealand. He served as the managing director of supermarkets, liquor and petrol with responsibility for more than $40 billion in sales at that time. Under Foran’s leadership, the business grew sales and market share in a strong competitive market. Earlier in his career, Foran served as general manager of Big W, Woolworth’s industry leading discount store business and as general manager of Dick Smith Electronics.

“I’ve worked closely with Greg for the past few years and I’ve seen firsthand his passion for retail. I’m confident that Greg’s strong leadership skills and alignment with our culture will serve our customers and associates well,” McMillon said. “I’m excited about what he will bring to this important part of our business.”

“Being asked to lead the Walmart U.S. business is a privilege that I don’t take lightly,” said Foran. “I am excited to get started. The needs of our customers are changing dramatically and we have an enormous opportunity to serve them in new and different ways. We must be fierce advocates for our customers, work meticulously to exceed their expectations and earn their trust every day.”

Simon said it had been an honor to work for Walmart for the past eight years, adding, “this felt like the right time to move on and focus on my next opportunity. I look forward to helping the company as much as I can in the next six months.”

Walmart said it would name Foran’s successor as president and CEO of Walmart Asia at a later date.

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