Chutes & Ladders: Chick-fil-A founder Truett Cathy dies; CVS Health names Mary Langowski executive VP of strategy

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.


> Truett Cathy, founder of the privately owned Chick-fil-A restaurant chain, died Sept. 8 at the age of 93. Mark Baldwin, a spokesman for the chain, said Cathy died at home surrounded by his family. According to a company statement, the funeral was held Sept. 10 at the First Baptist Jonesboro Church in Jonesboro, Georgia.

The family-owned company reported 46 consecutive years of positive sales growth, translating into a $6 billion fortune for Cathy, whose tremendous wealth earned him a spot in Forbes magazine's list of wealthiest Americans in the country. Cathy was listed as chairman emeritus on the company website after leaving his post managing day-to-day operations in the hands of younger company executives. Story

> CVS Health announced Sept. 10 that Mary Langowski has been appointed executive VP of strategy, policy and market development, effective Oct. 14. Langowski will direct CVS Health's strategy and market development functions, with a focus on identifying and expanding enterprise opportunities to new markets as the company enhances its commitment to proactive involvement in the health care industry.

Previously, Langowski led CVS government affairs and policy development teams at the state and federal level, providing strategic counsel as CVS navigated policies, regulations and market trends affecting the company's focus on health care. Langowski comes to CVS from international law firm DLA Piper, where she has acted as chair of the Health Care Policy and Regulatory Practice and co-chair of the Food and Beverage sector. Press Release

> Alco Stores announced the departure of CEO Richard Wilson, who left the regional discounter after four years in the top spot following a mutual agreement. Board director Stanley Latacha will take the reins of the company in the interim as its leadership pushes forward with an entirely new crop of directors. Latacha has 30 years of retail experience overseeing turnarounds at chains such as Pamida. Latacha was lauded by Alco leadership for his instrumental role in professionalizing the Alco staff, overseeing the company's move to Texas and leading the company through a challenging retail climate. Story

> Einstein Noah Restaurant Group, which includes subsidiaries such as Einstein Bros. Bagels, Noah's New York Bagels, and Manhattan Bagel, announced Sept. 8 the appointment of Frank Paci as president and CEO, effective Sept. 15. Paci Succeeds Michael Arthur, who has acted as interim CEO since February.  Arthur will continue to serve as the board's director. Paci has more than 25 years of experience leading top retail brands. He most recently acted as president and CEO at McAlister's Deli, where he has worked since September of 2010. Press Release

> Toys R Us announced three new appointments Sept. 9 that are intended to position the company for "long-term profitable growth" as part of its "Tru Transformation" strategy.

The first appointment went to Debbie Lentz, who has been named senior VP, chief supply chain officer. She will be responsible for U.S. distribution, customs, compliance, global importing and exporting, fleet operations and domestic transportation. She will oversee inventory planning and allocation as well as e-commerce fulfillment. She previously worked for Kraft Foods Group as the company's senior VP, customer service and logistics.

The second appointment went to Christine Morena, who was named senior VP, human resources. Morena will be charged with providing strategic guidance and operational support to the company's global Human Resources organization across its headquarters and regional offices, as well as stores and distribution centers in the U.S. and internationally. Morena previously acted as principal for her own advisory services business, providing counsel to senior managers and boards on building best-in-class organizational structures and programs.

The last appointment went to Joe Venezia, who was named senior VP, store operations. Venezia will be responsible for transforming the in-store experience through strong operations disciplines and customer service excellence in the company's store network across the country. Venezia formerly acted as senior VP of store operations at The Pantry, a convenience store chain based in North Carolina. Before that he was senior VP of Walmart U.S. and president of the company's Northeast division. Press Release

> Electronics and furniture retailer hhgregg announced on Sept. 11 the hiring of Robert Riesbeck as CFO, effective Sept. 15. Riesbeck brings more than 25 years of experience in financial and operations management. He most recently acted as operations executive and group CFO at Sun Capital Partners, where he was responsible for financial and operations oversight of diverse portfolio companies with combined revenues exceeding $5 billion. Press Release

> Digital marketplace RetailMeNot announced the appointment of Eric Korman to its board of directors on Sept. 9. Korman joins the company from Ralph Lauren, where he acted as president of the company's digital and global e-commerce division. He will be responsible for Ralph Lauren's digital business, marketing and operations across all markets. Korman was responsible for the establishment of Ralph Lauren's Customer Intelligence and Experience Management group, a "global enterprise function" supporting all global business channels. Press Release

> Walgreens named Barry Rosenstein, founder and managing partner for New York City-based hedge fund Jana Partners LLC, to its board of directors. The company is expanding its board as it moves to complete the merger with Alliance Boots. Jana's hedge fund manages in excess of $11 billion in investments and commitments. Rosenstein will focus on reducing Walgreens' expenses, updating product assortment and developing improvements to the company's investment plans. Press Release