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Williams-Sonoma leadership changes; West Elm president leaving

Julie Whalen
Julie Whalen has resigned as CFO of Williams-Sonoma to become executive VP and CFO of Expedia Group.

Two company veterans are leaving Williams-Sonoma.

The home goods retailer has appointed Jeff Howie as chief financial officer. The 20-year company veteran succeeds Julie Whalen, who is leaving to become CFO of Expedia Group, where she has served on the board of directors for over three years. Whalen joined Williams-Sonoma in 2001 and has served as CFO for the past 11 years.

During his tenure at Williams-Sonoma, Howie has held key executive leadership roles for the Williams Sonoma, Pottery Barn, Pottery Barn Kids and Pottery Barn Teen brands. Most recently, he served as Williams-Sonoma’s executive VP, chief administrative officer overseeing finance, inventory, and outlets across the Pottery Barn brands, as well as real estate, store development, corporate facilities, and business-to-business for all of Williams-Sonoma, Inc.

“Jeff’s financial acumen, institutional knowledge, operational expertise, and foundational contributions to our growth initiatives make him uniquely qualified to become WSI’s next CFO,” said Williams-Sonoma president and CEO Laura Alber.

West Elm
In other changes, Alex Bellos, the president of West Elm, is leaving to become co-CEO and board member of cooking and home brand Food52, which acquired Schoolhouse and Dansk in 2021. Bellos, who has been with Williams-Sonoma for nearly 15 years, has led the brand since 2017. He is credited with turning West Elm into a major growth driver for the company.

“West Elm is one of the fastest growing brands in the home furnishings industry, and I’d like to thank Alex for everything he has done to build this brand and the West Elm team over the last five years,” Alber said.

Williams-Sonoma has started an internal and external search to identify Bellos’ replacement. 

In a statement on his new role as CFO, Howie commented, “I am excited to build on my 20-year history with Williams-Sonoma, Inc. by taking on this new role and delivering on our long-term growth strategies. I am committed to driving enterprise value, amplifying communication and transparency, and building our business to exceed our goal of $10 billion.”

Williams-Sonoma operates a portfolio of brands that include Pottery Barn, Pottery Barn Kids, Pottery Barn Teen, West Elm, Williams Sonoma Home, Rejuvenation, and Mark and Graham.

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