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C-Suite Execs to Watch in 2016


For the retailing industry, 2015 was another year of seismic shifts as merchants continued to keep pace with the evolving digital landscape. It was also a busy year of executive comings and goings. Here is my pick of industry executives — all new to their positions — to keep an eye on in 2016.

• Fran Horowitz, Abercrombie & Fitch: Named president of the company’s Hollister brand in fall 2014, Horowitz was recently promoted to the newly created position of president and chief merchandising officer of the entire company, reporting to executive chairman Arthur Markowitz. The company also announced it has stopped its search for a CEO. Horowitz’s track record at Hollister suggests that Abercrombie’s faith in her is well placed. She has led a turnaround at the brand, whose sales have outpaced the rest of the company’s divisions.

• Tony Rogers, Walmart: Tony Rogers, a 10-year company veteran, takes over as U.S. chief marketing officer at the end of January, succeeding Stephen Quinn, who is retiring.

In an interesting mix, Rogers, CMO of Walmart China for the past two years, will be working closely with former Target Corp. marketing guru Michael Francis, who Walmart hired as a marketing consultant in December.

• Therace Risch, J.C. Penney: In the most recent example of new CEO Marvin Ellison’s remaking of Penney’s executive ranks, the company tapped Therace Risch as CIO. She most recently served as CIO at Country Financial and, prior to that, spent 10 years at Target Corp. in a variety of roles, including VP technology delivery services.

In addition to her experience in using technology to enhance both offline and online shopping, Risch is expected to bring a sense of order to an office that has seen plenty of comings and goings in recent years. She is Penney’s fifth tech leader since 2011.

• TJX Cos., Ernie Herrman: When Ernie Herrman becomes CEO of TJX Cos. on Jan. 31, he will be succeeding one of the most successful executives in modern retailing: Carol Meyrowitz. During her nine-year run at the top, Meyrowitz turned the off-price chain into a recession-resistant powerhouse that saw its income nearly triple to some $2.2 billion.

Herrman, who started with TJX in 1989, is well suited to replace Meyrowitz (who is moving into the role of executive chairman). He has been her second in command since 2011, when he was named president.

• David Brandon, Toys “R” Us: This is the year that CEO David Brandon, who took the reins of the chain in July, can claim fully his own. His plans for putting the company back on the growth track include smaller stores.

As chairman and CEO of Domino’s Pizza for 11 years, Brandon led Domino’s to profit growth and oversaw the successful completion of its initial public offering. Industry experts are waiting to see if he can work the same magic at Toys “R” Us. In addition to the five above, here are two more to watch.

Walmart and Michael’s veteran Shelley Broader was named president and CEO of Chico’s FAS.

First Capital Bancorp CEO John Presley took the top spot at the troubled Lumber Liquidators, replacing founder and acting CEO Thomas Sullivan.

Marianne Wilson

[email protected]

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