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Retail C-Suite Moves: May Scorecard

About half of CEOs report some problems attracting qualified workers.
C-suite moves in May included the appointment of Latriece Watkins as executive VP, chief merchandising officer chief merchandising officer for Walmart U.S.

Here’s a look at the major C-suite appointments that occurred in May (listed in the order they were announced.)

• Northeast Grocery, parent company of Price Chopper/Market 32 and Tops Markets named Scott Kessler as its new executive VP and chief information officer.

Most recently, Kessler served as executive VP/CIO of BJ’s Wholesale Club. Prior to joining BJ’s in 2017, he was with department store company Belk, where he served as executive VP/CIO.

• At Home has appointed Jeff Evans as president and chief merchandising officer. He will join the value home goods chain on June 19.

Most recently, Evans served as executive VP, entertainment, toys and seasonal for Walmart US, where he managed the company’s largest omnichannel general merchandise business in excess of $37 billion.

The Vitamin Shoppe named Lee A. Wright as CEO, effective immediately. He has served as interim chief executive since January 2023, following the abrupt departure of Sharon Lei,  who was subsequently named CEO of aesthetic brand Ideal Image. 

• Panera Brands, parent company of Panera Bread, Einstein Bros. Bagels and Caribou Coffee, named José Alberto Dueñas as CEO, effective July 1.  Dueñas, who is currently president and CEO of Einstein Bros., will succeed current CEO Niren Chaudhary, who will become chairman of Panera Brands. 

• Teen apparel retailer Pacun appointed Brie Olson as CEO, effective June 15. Olson, a board member, was named co-CEO alongside Mike Relich earlier this year.   She succeeded Alfred Changm who left Pacsun after 17 years.

Relich will retire as co-CEO. He will continue to serve on the Pacsun board in a new role as vice chairman.

Shipley Do-Nuts tapped Flynn Decker as CEO.  He most recently served as CEO of Bonchon, a global franchisor of Korean chicken restaurants with more than 420 locations across nine countries. 

Bath & Body Works expanded its C-suite with the appointment of Maurice Cooper to the new role of chief customer officer. Cooper joined the company from Target Corp., where he most recently was senior VP, marketing – guest and brand experience.

•Trader Joe president and COO Bryan Palbaum will succeed Dan Bane as chief executive of the grocer, effective July 2. Bane has been with the grocer for more than 25 years, serving as chairman and CEO for the last 22 year.

Nordstrom names Cathy R. Smith as chief financial officer, effective May 29. She succeeds Michael Maher, who has been serving as interim CFO since late last year.

 Smith joins Nordstrom from Bright Health Group, where she has served as chief financial and administrative officer since 2020.

Walmart named company veteran Latriece Watkins as executive VP, chief merchandising officer for Walmart U.S. She succeeds Charles Redfield, who stepped down from the role (as of May 1), but is continuing in an advisory role. 

Fashion apparel brand Guess appointed Markus Neubrand as CFO, effective Aug. 1, following a “rigorous search process.” He will succeed interim CFO Dennis Secor.

 Neubrand is currently group CFP of MCM Worldwide (MCM Global AG), a role he has been in since 2021. Previously, Neubrand spent 17 years at Hugo Boss.

• Dollar Tree named a veteran from its chief rival to a key leadership position. The discounter said that Mike Kindy is joining the company as chief supply officer.

Prior to joining the company, Kindy spent more than 12 years at Dollar General, where he served in multiple leadership roles, most recently as executive VP, global supply chain.

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