Chutes & Ladders: Haggen's Southwest CEO resigns, Conn's names new 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.

> Following its Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing, Haggen announced the departure of Bill Shaner, former CEO of the Pacific Southwest division. Shaner was hired in December 2014 to lead Haggen's expansion into southern California, Arizona and Nevada, Seattle Times reported. He was quoted in a press release just last month, describing the supermarket's plan to streamline and improve operations. With Shaner's departure, Haggen will return to a single CEO, John Clougher. The Washington-based grocer has experienced rough times since buying 146 Albertsons, Vons, Safeway and Pavilions stores last summer for $9.2 billion. The company went from an 18-store chain to a regional player in five states: Washington, Oregon, California, Arizona and Nevada. Story


> Norman Miller was named Conn's new CEO and president, succeeding Theodore Wright, who will remain on the board of directors as executive chairman. Miller has more than 30 years of transformational business leadership. His appointment comes after a year-long initiative of exploring strategic alternatives. Miller worked previously for Sears Automotive as president and at DFC Global as COO. He held other leadership positions at Aramark, Nestle, Kraft and Pepsi. To further the specialty retailer's strategic position, Miller will focus on strengthening oversight of Conn's credit and risk function. He will work closely with the credit risk and compliance committee, which is responsible for reviewing credit risk, underwriting strategy and credit compliance activities. Story

Scott Durchslag became president and CEO of Angie's List, effective Sept. 8. Durchslag has more than 20 years of experience leading e-commerce and technology businesses. He was most recently president of global e-commerce and marketing at Best Buy. Durchslag also led Best Buy's retail multichannel experience and the My Best Buy credit card/loyalty program. During his time at Best Buy, online revenue growth went from 11 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013 to 26 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014. Prior to Best Buy, Durchslag was president of Expedia Worldwide at the time when Expedia 3.0 was launched. He also served as COO at Skype Global, executing the introduction of Skype for Mac, Skype's first mobile products and Skype for Business. Press Release

Crocs senior VP and CFO Jeff Lasher is stepping down in early November to join West Marine as CFO. A global executive search is underway for his permanent replacement. Lasher has been CFO at Crocs since 2011 and started with the company two years prior. During the transition period, Mike Smith, senior VP for finance, will work closely with Lasher and serve as interim CFO, effective Oct. 1. Smith came to Crocs earlier this year after two years as division senior VP for finance at Wolverine Worldwide, and before the acquisition, Collective Brands Performance and Lifestyle Group, which includes Sperry Top-Side, Saucony, Keds and Stride Rite brands.  Press Release

Kroger announced the retirement of Geoff Covert, senior VP of retail divisions. Shortly after the Kroger announcement, 99 Cents Only Stores named Covert as its new president and CEO. Covert has been with Kroger for almost 20 years, starting as VP of the grocery products group, and spent the 22 years prior in management positions at Procter & Gamble. He also served as senior VP and president of Kroger manufacturing, and president of the Cincinnati/Dayton division thereafter. Sukanya Madlinger, currently president of Kroger's Cincinnati/Dayton division, will replace Covert as senior VP of retail divisions. Thirty-eight-year Kroger veteran Tim Brown, now president of Kroger's Delta division based in Memphis, will take Madlinger's former position. 99 Cents Only Stores Press Release; Kroger Press Release

Other internal, executive promotions at Kroger include Mike Donnelly moving from senior VP to exec-VP of merchandising, with added responsibilities for digital, manufacturing and corporate brands, supply chain, culinary innovation, The Little Clinic and Vitacost. Chris Hjelm, who joined the company 10 years ago, also moved from senior VP to exec-VP and CIO. Thirty-year Kroger veteran Mike Schlotman was promoted from senior VP to exec-VP and CFO, and will have additional oversight of convenience stores, jewelry stores, data integrity and risk management. Lastly, Fred Morganthall moved from senior VP of retail divisions to exec-VP of retail operations. Kroger's three senior VPs of retail divisions will now report to Morganthall under the new structure. He began his career in grocery retail in 1978 at Spartan Stores in Michigan, joined Harris Teeter in 1986, and came to Kroger last year as part of the Kroger-Harris Teeter merger. Press Release

Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores welcomed back Mike McCarthy, naming him VP of merchandising and inventory, effective Sept. 21. He is a 28-year veteran of Sears Holdings, but left the company for a three-year stint in 2012. During his time away from Sears, McCarthy was exec-VP at Macy's for the North region and Pep Boys' VP of store operations and administration. The highest position he held at Sears Holdings was senior VP and general manager of Sears full-line stores, and was also senior VP of full-line store retail operations and specialty retail formats, including the Sears Hometown Stores and other formats. Press Release