Chutes & Ladders: Target taps new CEO; Darden Restaurants CEO steps down

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Welcome to this week's Chutes & Ladders, our roundup of hirings and firings throughout the industry. Please send the good wordor the badfrom your shop to Laura Heller at lheller@fiercemarkets.com and we will feature it here at the end of each week.

 

> Target has named Brian Cornell, former CEO of PepsiCo Americas Foods, as its new chairman and CEO. Cornell, 55, replaces Gregg Steinhafel, who left the company May 5. He is slated to officially join the Target team August 12, bringing more than 30 years of retail and CPG experience. As Target's new CEO, Cornell will be tasked with the acceleration of company performance and spearheading omnichannel development.

Cornell most recently acted as CEO of PepsicoAmericas Foods, where he oversaw the company's global food business, the largest of PepsiCo's four divisions. Before joining PepsiCo in 2012, Cornell acted as president and CEO of Sam's Club, a division of Walmart Stores, as well as CEO of Michaels Stores. He also held C-suite executive positions at Safeway. Press Release

 

> Clarence Otis, CEO and chairman of Darden Restaurants, is stepping down as the company struggles to refurbish its flagship Olive Garden chain after the sale of Red Lobster. The Orlando, Florida-based company announced changes in its corporate policies, including the splitting of chairman and CEO roles.

Darden announced the appointment of its current lead independent director, Charles Ledsinger, Jr., as independent non-executive chairman, effective immediately. Otis will continue to act as CEO until a successor is named, or until the year ends on Dec. 31. Darden Restaurants has suffered shareholder scrutiny since failing to reverse falling sales at Olive Garden and Red Lobster—which was officially sold off on Monday to private equity firm Golden Gate Capital for $2.1 billion in cash. Story

> Mark Sebba, CEO of luxury online retailer Net-a-Porter, stepped down July 31 after nearly 10 years in the role. Sebba joined the company in 2003 and has since garnered recognition for stimulating significant growth and maintaining an innovative approach to the luxury fashion market. The company started in 2000 and has grown into a big contender in the online fashion market, employing more than 2,500 staff members and launching other online platforms such as menswear retail fashion mag MrPorter.com. Sebba will remain with the company worth more than £2 billion as a non-executive director, but a new CEO has yet to be announced. Story

> The Children's Place announced the death of Lou Lipschitz, 69, a member of its board of directors and chair of the audit committee, on July 28. NorthJersey.com reported that he passed away after a "brief illness," and more than 300 mourners attended the funeral service, which was held July 27 at Robert Schoem's Menorah Chapel in Paramus, New Jersey. Lipschitz served on the board of directors since 2008 and was a member of the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee. Before joining the board, Lipschitz served as the executive VP and CFO of Toys R Us from 1996 until his retirement in 2004. Story

> Trademark Property announced a new VP of mall and lifestyle leasing on July 28. Former General Growth Properties executive David E. Pratt will assume the position, in which he will be responsible for leasing of the company's lifestyle centers and malls. Pratt brings 27 years of retail experience to Trademark, 15 of which were spent with GGP, where he acted as senior director and VP of leasing since 1999. Story

> Tuesday Morning announced the appointment of Jim Wade, a member of the board of directors and finance committee for Advance Auto Parts, Inc., to an independent position with the company's board of directors and the audit committee, according to a company statement. Wade has 35 years of retail experience. He joined Advance Auto Parts in 1994 as treasurer and retired as president in 2011. He also sits on the board of directors and audit committee of Lumber Liquidators Holdings, the largest specialty retailer of hardwood flooring in North America. Press Release

> Crocs, the omnichannel retailer of all things footwear, has selected Reebok's VP of U.S. retail, Claire-Fahie-Conley, to become their VP of retail, North America. Fahie-Conley will be responsible for overseeing the entire Crocs fleet of full-price and outlet stores. She joins Crocs after 20 years with Reebok, where she acted as VP of U.S. retail. She was responsible for more than 150 retail stores and helped forge the development of Reebok's FitHub store concept launched earlier this year. Story

> Alibaba, China's largest online commerce company, announced the appointment of Jane Penner as vice president, head of investor relations, on July 21. Penner will be charged with the leadership of Alibaba's investor relations team. The appointment will become effective August 11 and she will be based in San Francisco. Penner's background includes technology, banking and media sectors, giving her a nuanced understanding of investor relations and financial communications. Before joining Alibaba, Penner led the investor relations team at Google. Press Release