Chutes & Ladders: Amazon hires White House press secretary; American Apparel expands executive team

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 Drew Woolley at [email protected] and we will feature it here at the end of each week.


> Former White House press secretary Jay Carney will join Amazon on Monday as the digital retailer's senior VP of worldwide corporate affairs. The newly-created position would combine the company's worldwide public relations and public policy departments into one, led by Carney. He will work from both the retailer's Seattle headquarters and its office in Washington, D.C., and Paul Misener will still run Amazon's lobbying efforts from the latter. The move means that Carney will no longer act as a senior political analyst for CNN so that he can focus on his work with Amazon. Misener and Public Relations Chief Craig Berman will both report to Carney, who will answer to CEO Jeff Bezos directly. Story


>  American Apparel named two new members of its executive team. Thoryn Stephens (left) will join the company as chief digital officer, a new position, while Cynthia Erland will take over as senior VP of marketing. Both changes will become effective March 9. Stephens will be responsible for optimizing the retailer's digital marketing, data analytics and e-commerce strategies. Before joining American Apparel, he was VP of data science at Tillster. Erland will take charge of the company's marketing and communications program. She has 20 years of experience in the fashion and entertainment industries as a marketing executive. She has acted as a senior marketing executive for Perry Ellis International, C&C California, Universal Studios and E! Networks. Story

> Albertsons announced that COO Bob Butler will retire Feb. 27, ending his 40-year tenure with the company. He originally announced plans to retire in September once the retailer's merger with Safeway had been successfully completed. Butler joined Albertsons in 1972, leading the chain's Denver, Southern California/Las Vegas and Intermountain regions before becoming EVP of food operations and president of the Intermountain West division, right before the company was broken apart in 2006. He joined the successor company as SVP of marketing and merchandising, becoming EVP of operations in 2010. The merged Albertsons-Safeway company also announced that Justin Dye has been named chief administrative officer. He replaces Lee Wilson, who chose to remain as a consultant rather than continue as an officer of the merged organization. Story

> The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf announced that Andrew Nathan will join the company as senior VP of Asia Pacific and a member of the executive team. The role is newly created, and he will be responsible for driving company growth opportunities in Asia, including operations in Singapore and Malaysia. He takes over for Victor Sassoon, CEO of Asia Pacific, who will stay on as a member of the board. Nathan will work out of Singapore and report to President and CEO John Dawson, working closely with him and Sassoon to ensure a smooth transition. Nathan has worked in the specialty coffee business for almost 20 years and specializes in leading growth for brands in Asia. He began his career with the U.S. Peace Corps and the American Red Cross, going on to serve in regional franchise and corporate market leadership positions for brands such as Starbucks and Domino's. Story

> Jewelery brand Lagos has been shuffling its management team. The company announced that former CEO and chief creative director Steven Lagos will take on the titles of chairman and chief creative officer. He will work on design as the brand refocuses its distribution and marketing strategy. Several others will pitch in on the business side, including President Chris Cullen. The company promoted Isabelle Scarchilli to VP of marketing and Amanda Willinger to VP of digital and e-commerce. Dana Nichols has been named as the company's first sales director. Story

> Men's Wearhouse announced that David Edwab has retired as an executive with the retailer but will remain vice chairman of the company's board of directors. In accordance with the terms of his employment agreement, he will sitll be available as a consultant to the company. Edwab has worked in the retail industry for 40 years in financial and operational capacities, and more than 30 of those years have been with Men's Wearhouse. He joined the retailer as an independent audit partner in 1983 and helped the company launch its IPO in 1992. Press release

> Skincare product company H2O+ has announced that Joy Chen will take over as its new president and CEO. She has more than 20 years of experience in the beauty industry and is known for driving sales and profit growth. She last served as CEO of Yes To Inc., where she was in charge of the brand's expansion of the Yes To skin and body care portfolio's North American and International distribution. Before that, she was VP of sales and marketing at Clorox, before becoming general manager of the laundry business unit. Story

> Wendy's named Michelle Mathews-Spradlin to its board of directors to serve as a director of the company, effective immediately. Her addition brings the board to 11 members. Before retiring in 2011, Mathews-Spradlin served as CMO and senior VP at Microsoft. She was responsible for the company's global marketing, as well as building demand for technology brands such as Windows, Office, Xbox, Bing and Internet Explorer. Mathews-Spradlin grew up in England where she went to Brighton University, earning a Bachelor's degree in business management. She worked for three years in varying positions for General Motors before joining Microsoft as a communications consultant in the U.K. She became a full-time employee in 1993 as head of public relations. Mathews-Spradlin also sits on the Digital Advisory Board of Unilever, as well as the boards of Oanda Corp., True [X] Media and Bitium. Story