Chutes & Ladders: Apple taps new social media chief; Walgreens CFO steps down amid false alarm

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


> Musa Tariq, former social media chief for Nike and Burberry, has been confirmed as Apple's new digital marketing director as the company shifts into high gear for the anticipated release of the iWatch next fall. The confirmation of Tariq's position was ironically first leaked on Twitter, when he changed his professional title to "Digital Marketing Director, Apple." Tariq has launched numerous successful social media ventures on platforms such as YouTube and Twitter, and his campaigns have been a valuable asset to previous employers.

The hire perpetuates a noted trend by Apple CEO Tim Cook, who continues to sweep up Nike employees as he renovates the Apple leadership team. Former Burberry executive Angela Ahrendts now acts as senior VP of Apple retail, and as the launch of the new iWatch creeps closer into view, Apple execs may be clamoring for the same kind of social media expertise offered by Tariq that seemed so effective in tantalizing his employers' audiences in the past. Story


> Walgreens CFO Wade Miquelon announced his plans to step down on Aug. 4 as the drugstore supposedly planned to move its headquarters to Switzerland in efforts to cut its U.S. tax bill, which amounts to a projected $4 billion in the next five years. Miquelon, who will be replaced by Kraft Foods Group executive Timothy McLevish, was the second top executive to leave the company as the decision approached a final verdict.

However, if Miquelon did leave because of the move, his decision was in vain. Walgreens announced Aug. 6 that it will buy the remaining shares of Alliance Boots, an acquisition that would have enabled the transition overseas, but that it intends to keep its headquarters in the U.S. Rumors were running rampant that Miquelon's departure was due to the overseas migration, but now that that is out of the mix, the question remains as to whether or not he actually stepped down for other reasons. Story

> Apple is now rumored to have hired Catherine Monier, European president and worldwide wholesale director of fashion giant Yves Saint Laurent—the second executive recruited from the French company by Apple. Monier allegedly left YSL earlier this week and is rumored to already be working for Apple. Former YSL CEO Paul Deneve is supposedly behind the recruitment of Monier. Deneve oversees a "Special Projects" group at Apple that reports directly to Apple CEO Tim Cook. Sources say Deneve's team is responsible for retail strategies revolving around fashion and wearables—the iWatch, more specifically. Story

> Walgreens announced the appointment of Timothy McLevish as Walgreen's new executive VP and CFO on Aug. 4. The appointment will be effective immediately and he will report directly to President and CEO Greg Wasson. McLevish will be charged with managing all of Walgreen's financials as the company moves forward with the proposed second step of its strategic partnership with Alliance Boots. McLevish joins Walgreens from Kraft Foods Group, where he acted as executive VP and CFO. He succeeds Wade D. Miquelon, executive VP, CFO and president of Walgreens, international. Press Release

> Wet Seal named former PacSun executive Christine Lee executive VP and chief merchandising officer as the retailer of young women's apparel attempts to reestablish its viability with core shoppers and reverse a running trend of double-digit same-store sales declines. Lee is slated to join the women's apparel retailer on Sept. 3. She previously acted as senior VP and general merchandise manager at PacSun, where she has worked since 2010. She will report to CEO John Goodman. Press Release

> Crate & Barrel CEO Sascha Bopp officially resigned from his position in the company's top spot in an Aug. 4 announcement to employees. His resignation was confirmed by parent company Otto Group, based in Hamburg, Germany. Bopp, 44, had acted as CEO since spring of 2012 after joining the company in 2009. He was just the third CEO in the Northbrook, Illinois-based company's history spanning 52 years. Bopp was noted for pushing Crate & Barrel's international presence forward by opening new stores in eight new countries such as Mexico, Singapore and Turkey, with five brick-and-mortars in locations such as Russia still in the works. Story

> Kimco Realty named Conor Flynn president in an Aug. 6 announcement. He previously acted as CIO, COO and executive VP. He will continue to act as CIO and COO. Flynn will take the place of David Henry as president. Henry will continue on as Kimco's CEO and vice chairman of its board of directors. Flynn joined Kimco in 2003 as an asset manager and has occupied numerous senior leadership roles with the company in the last 11 years. Press Release

> Aaron's Inc. announced Aug. 6 that CEO Ronald Allen, 72, will retire both as company head and as a member of the board of directors. The departure will become effective Aug. 31. Allen had been serving on the board since 1997 and acted as CEO since Feb. 2012. Story

> Canadian Tire has appointed company president Michael Medline as CEO. Medline has acted as president of the company since Nov. 2013 and his promotion to CEO will become effective Dec. 1. Medline has held senior executive positions with Canadian Tire for more than 13 years and has piloted many of the company's strategic ventures, including acquisitions and partnerships. Current CEO Stephen Wetmore will remain on the board of directors as deputy chairman. Press Release