Chutes & Ladders: Birchbox preps team for brick-and-mortar expansion; American Eagle names CEO

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 Allison Moon and we will feature the news here at the end of each week.

> Birchbox is getting ready to jump start its brick-and-mortar expansion by creating a team to lead the effort. Philippe Pinatel (left) is Birchbox's new COO and president. He will be responsible for strategic growth, merchandising, product development, retail, operations and international. Douglas Simpson, who joined the company earlier this year, is VP of retail. Simpson's background includes time at Gucci, Banana Republic, and Bed Bath & Beyond. Ben Fay was named VP of retail development and customer experience and is tasked with store concept, design, real estate and construction of Birchbox's off-line retail stores. He was previously senior director of retail real estate, design and development at Apple for eight years. Andrew Lande-Shannon was appointed design director of off-line retail, responsible for store design, visual merchandising design and other off-line event initiatives. Lande-Shannon has held creative director roles at Joe Fresh, Prada, J.Jill, Theory, and Abercrombie & Fitch. Story


American Eagle Outfitters appointed Jay Schottenstein as CEO, effective immediately. Schottenstein has served as interim CEO since January 2014, and will continue in his role as executive chairman. In fact, he has a long history with American Eagle. Before he took over as interim CEO, he served as chairman of American Eagle since March 1992 and also held the CEO role from 1992 to 2002. "Jay has orchestrated a swift recovery since taking the helm, successfully guiding the company through a challenging and highly competitive retail environment," said Michael Jesselson, lead independent director for American Eagle's board of directors. "He has exceptional instincts for our brands, a strong strategic vision, and proven ability to lead the company to profitable growth. Story

Destination XL Group, a retailer of big and tall men's apparel, named Nancy Youssef to a newly created position: senior VP of international business development. She will be responsible for the international expansion of the Destination XL franchise. Youssef joins the company from footwear and apparel retailer Genesco, where she was VP of international business development for six years. During her time at Genesco, she successfully directed the company into more than 24 countries around the world. Prior to Genesco, Youssef was a senior brand manager at HSN for nearly two years and director of international business development for three years at SAS-Egypt, an importer and distributor of fashion apparel and accessories. Story

Specialty retailer Francesca's CFO Mark Vendetti has taken another offer as CFO at another company and is resigning. Cindy Thomassee, currently VP of accounting, will take on the role of interim CFO beginning Dec. 4 while a search for a new CFO is conducted. "I would like to thank Mark for all of his efforts as our chief financial officer over the last two and a half years," said Michael Barnes, Francesca's chairman, president and CEO. "I am grateful for Mark's time at Francesca's and I wish him continued success in his new role." Thomassee has been with Francesca's for eight years. Prior to joining the retailer, she was controller at LRG Furniture for more than nine years. Story

J.Crew named Michael Nicholson president, COO and CFO, effective Jan. 11, 2016. Nicholson joins J.Crew from Ann Inc., where he was most recently exec-VP, COO, CFO and treasurer from December 2012 to August 2015. From 2007 to 2012, he was exec-VP, CFO and treasurer of Ann Inc. Nicholson also spent seven years at Limited Brands, holding various positions including exec-VP, COO and CFO for Victoria's Secret beauty company. At J.Crew, Nicholson will be responsible for finance, global supply chain, sourcing, IT, real estate, asset management and investment management functions. He will report directly to Millard Drexler, chairman and CEO of J.Crew Group. Press Release

Kroger promoted Kate Ward, manager of finance, to director of investor relations. Ward succeeds Cindy Holmes, who was promoted to senior director of pension investments. Ward has worked for Kroger since 2001 when she joined as an auditor. She moved to capital management in 2005 and held several leadership positions in that division. Holmes started at Kroger in 1990 as a systems analyst. She held multiple leadership roles in finance, including director of treasury for two years before serving as director of investor relations for nearly five years. Story

Reverse supply chain solution provider Liquidity Services added a former Walmart executive to its board of directors. The new board member, Edward Kolodzieski, will also serve on Liquidity's compensation and governance committees. Kolodzieski worked for Walmart for nearly 13 years, most recently as exec-VP of global sourcing from 2010 to 2013. He was responsible for the global procurement of goods and services. Earlier in his career at Walmart, Kolodzieski was CEO of Walmart Japan and COO of Walmart International, leading operations, merchandising, marketing and new format development for all countries outside the United States. Story

Two Lowe's executives were promoted, including one to chief marketing officer. Both now report to Michael Jones, chief customer officer. Marci Grebstein was promoted from VP of advertising to chief marketing officer, succeeding Tom Lamb, who left the company. Grebstein came to Lowe's from Food Lion, where she was VP of marketing, brand strategy and external communications. She also did a 16-year stint at Staples, including as director of advertising, VP of media and consumer marketing, and VP of B2B marketing and e-commerce. In addition, Erin Sellman was promoted from VP of strategy and insights to senior VP of strategy, insights and planning. Sellman has been with Lowe's since 2004. She's held positions such as VP of strategy and alignment, director of corporate strategy, and director of new market development. Story

Newgistics, an end-to-end commerce solutions provider for retailers and brands, promoted two internal executives to fill the president and CEO role and the exec-VP and CFO position. Current CEO Bill Razzouk and current CFO Michael Twomey are both retiring at the end of the year. Todd Everett, currently general manager and COO for Newgistics' parcel and fulfillment business, will fill Razzouk's shoes as president and CEO. Razzouk will remain chairman of the board of directors. Everett has been with the company since 2005 when he joined as director of operations. To fill the CFO role, Newgistics chose Ben Wade, who joined the company in 2013 as VP and controller. Previously, he founded technology company ProspX and served as CFO. Wade was also a finance director at Trilogy and an audit manager at PwC earlier in his career. Story

RadioShack hired celebrity Nick Cannon as chief creative officer, tasked with developing RadioShack-exclusive products, curating music selections, performances and events, and growing the educational and S.T.E.M initiatives. Cannon is an actor, first staring in Nickelodeon's "All That" TV show, executive producer of TV shows "The Nick Cannon Show" and "Wild N Out", host of  "America's Got Talent, comedian, writer, director, DJ, entrepreneur and philanthropist. NCredible Entertainment, a multi-media company that produces TV and film projects and includes a line of consumer products, was founded in 2009 by Cannon. Story

Supervalu's hard-discount grocery segment Save-A-Lot has a new CEO. Eric Claus will take up his new role at Save-A-Lot on or before Jan. 4, 2016. For the past two years, Claus has been chairman, president and CEO of Red Apple Stores, a chain of value retail stores in Canada. Since July 2013, he has led the restructure and transformation of the 150-store chain. Claus has more than 30 years of experience in retail. He was CEO for Co-Op Atlantic, president and CEO at the Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company (A&P) in Canada and then in the U.S. Supervalu also announced Ritchie Casteel, formerly president and CEO of Save-A-Lot, will retain the president role and report to Claus. He will continue to oversee day-to-day store operations, store growth plans and market development, as well as prepare for a possible spin-off of Save-A-Lot. Story