Chutes & Ladders: Jo-Ann CEO steps down; Kmart gets a new president

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.


> Travis Smith, CEO of Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores, stepped down from his position with the company on Aug. 13. Smith joined Jo-Ann in July of 2006 and filled multiple executive roles prior to his appointment as CEO in August of 2011. Jim Kerr, executive VP and CFO, will act as interim CEO until a replacement is found. Kerr will continue to operate as CFO

The company's board of directors has initiated a comprehensive search for a replacement. The duties assumed temporarily by Kerr will include partnering with Riddi Kline, executive VP of marketing and merchandising, and Tom Williams, executive VP of operations and HR, to manage business. Story

> Sears Holdings announced the appointment of Alasdair James as president and chief member officer for Kmart. James's critical roles will include meeting the needs of Shop Your Way loyalty customers, who made up 72 percent of Kmart sales at the end of 2013.

He most recently acted as commercial director of Tesco's global business unit. He started at Tesco, Europe's largest grocery chain, in 2007. While there, he managed the retailer's operations in China as executive VP and commercial director. Before Tesco, James filled executive positions with GlaxoSmithKline and PepsiCo. His experience includes running multi-site operations within the retail, pharma, food manufacturing and packaged good sectors. Press Release

> Belk appointed Jan Clevenger as executive VP and general merchandising manager of men's, home and kids on Aug. 14. Clevenger will report directly to David Zant, president and chief merchandising officer of the company. Clevenger began working with Belk in 2000 and acted as chair of the Belk Western Division in Birmingham, Alabama since 2008. Her retail experience stretches back to 1984 when she worked for Macy's. David Luoma will succeed her as chair of the Belk Western Division. Press Release

> Dollar General announced a new addition to its board of directors on Aug. 13 with the appointment of Paula Price, senior lecturer at Harvard Business School. Price's election will bring the total number of Dollar General's directors to eight. Price will serve on the audit committee of Dollar General's board. She formerly acted as executive VP and CFO of Ahold USA from May 2009 until January. She has held other executive positions at companies such as CVS Caremark Corporation and JPMorgan Chase. Press Release

> Build-A-Bear Workshop named Jennifer Kretchmar chief product officer and innovation bear on Aug. 13. Kretchmar will lead the company's merchandising and product development teams while reporting to Sharon John, CEO, Build-A-Bear workshop. Kretchmar will be responsible for product development, design, quality, sourcing, merchandising, planning and wholesale. Kretchmar most recently acted as senior VP of product and brand management at Stride Rite Children's Group of Wolverine World Wide. Press Release

> Ed Krell, CEO of maternity apparel retailer Destination Maternity, stepped down from his position and relinquished his place on the company's board of directors on Aug. 12. He will be replaced by Anthony Romano on both counts, effective immediately. Romano, 52, has held executive positions with retailers such as Ascena Retail Group, Charming Shoppes, and ANN. Press Release

> Loblaw, Canada's largest retailer, announced the appointment of Pavi Binning to the position of director of Loblaw Companies board on Aug. 14. Binning currently acts as president for George Weston Limited, where he has been director since 2012. He joined George Weston in 2010 as CFO after a year as a director at Loblaw. Binning also acted in executive positions at Nortel Networks, Hanson, Marconi and Diageo. Press Release