Two industry veterans joining C-suite at Big Lots

Marianne Wilson
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Big Lots
Big Lots operates more than 1,440 stores in 48 states.

Big Lots is adding two retail veterans to its senior leadership team.

The discounter named off-price veteran Margarita Giannantonio as chief merchandising officer, effective Nov. 14. (The chain’s former CMO, Jack A. Pestell, left in May on the heels of a disappointing first quarter.) The company also appointed retail brand and performance marketing executive John Alpaughas chief marketing officer.

We've worked diligently to find the right thought and people leaders for these two roles, and Margarita and John emerged clearly from our searches as the right leaders to take us forward," said Bruce Thorn, president and CEO, of Big Lots.

Giannantonio spent the last decade with TJX Cos., where she most recently served as senior VP and general merchandise manager of TJX Canada, where she led teams responsible for merchandise strategy and financial plans.  She also previously served in roles with Hudson's Bay Company and Hugo Boss Canada.

“Margarita is a deeply accomplished off-price retail industry leader with more than 30 years of experience in merchandising, sales, marketing and product development in the home, housewares, and apparel categories,” Thorn said. “Margarita’s creativity, extensive experience in off-price retail and financial acumen make her a great fit for Big Lots. Her leadership in merchandising will be invaluable as we intensify our focus on bargains and treasures to deliver exceptional value for our customers.”

John Alpaugh
Most recently, Alpaugh was the CEO of CyberMark, a digital marketing solutions provider to multi-location businesses, before successfully selling the company in June 2022.

He spent six years in Frankfurt, Germany, with Procter and Gamble in brand management before joining PetSmart. Alpaugh’s 16 years with PetSmart included senior leadership roles in marketing, specialty merchandising, and strategic planning, and culminated with four years as the senior VP and chief marketing officer.

As chief merchandising officer at Big Lots, Giannantonio will be responsible for shaping and leading the company's merchandising strategy across all product categories.

“John’s background includes a deep and diverse set of experiences, among them brand positioning and launch, enterprise strategy, customer insights and analytics, e-commerce, market research and budget management,” Thorn said. “John has a proven track record of marketing excellence, is a strong collaborator and possesses a great mix of analytical and practical instincts. His leadership will be vital as we build an even stronger Big Lots using effective, efficient, innovative, data-driven and tech-enabled marketing approaches to drive results.”

Headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, Big Lots operates more than 1,440 stores in 48 states.