Chutes & Ladders: Kohl's sues former CIO; Walmart adds VP of clinics

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.

Former Kohl's CIO Janet Schalk announced she is leaving the company to join Hudson's Bay as CIO. Kohl's sued her based on a noncompete clause in her contract that bars her from working in a similar position with a competitor for one year. The retailer stated Schalk was deeply involved in the company's future strategy, posing a competitive threat. Schalk claims Hudson's Bay is not a direct competitor because it operates high-end, luxury retailers such as Saks Fifth Avenue. The judge denied Kohl's request to block Schalk from joining Hudson's Bay, but did bar her from taking the role for a week while Kohl's considers an appeal. Schalk joined Kohl's in 2010 and led a major overhaul of the company's core technology platforms. Story


Walmart named Sandra Ryan to the newly created position of VP, Walmart Care Clinics, health and wellness division. The big-box retailer's Care Clinic model opened 17 clinics in Texas, Georgia and South Carolina last year. The new Walmart VP has more than 25 years of health care and leadership experience. Ryan joins Walmart from CareCam Health Systems, where she was chief clinical officer for two years. She was also one of the founding officers who started the retail health clinic operator, Take Care Health Systems, which was acquired by Walgreens in 2007. Ryan worked with Walgreens' chief medical officer in clinical governance, research and quality initiatives. She is considered the first chief nurse practitioner officer in the convenient care industry. Story restructured its executive team by adding a new CFO, Jennifer Ceran, and promoting the company's former CFO and COO, Mir Aamir, to president and COO. Aamir will now focus solely on strategy, operations and business growth while Ceran will oversee all corporate finance, accounting and investor relations. Both Aamir and Ceran will report to Steven Boal, founder and CEO. Ceran joins the company from Box, a cloud-based, enterprise content management company, where she was VP of finance. Before Box, she held three different leadership positions at eBay: VP of investor relations, VP financial planning and analysis, and VP treasurer. Press Release

Dollar General is bringing back a former Dollar General executive, Jim Thorpe, who was senior VP and general merchandise manager from May 2006 until his retirement in July 2012. Thorpe is now Dollar General's exec-VP and chief merchandising officer. Before Thorpe started at Dollar General, he served in positions of increasing responsibility for Sears from 1991 to 2006 and was VP and general merchandising manager, Hard Home of Sears Home Group, immediately before joining Dollar General. Thorpe will replace David D'Arrezzo, who is leaving the company after 20 months as exec-VP and CMO. Story

Petco made four key leadership changes: CEO Jim Myers became chairman and CEO, Brad Weston was named president, Steve Lossing was shifted to senior VP of operations, and Rebecca Frechette moved into the senior VP of merchandising role. The new Petco president, Weston, was previously exec-VP, chief merchandising officer and president of Unleashed by Petco, a brand and format for which he is credited with creating and evolving. Weston started as exec-VP, chief merchant at Petco in 2011. Lossing, previously senior VP of merchandising, will fill the shoes of Tom Farello, who is retiring from the senior VP, operations role in 2016 after nine years. Frechette was Petco's former senior VP of private brand and was senior VP of merchandising for 7-Eleven before joining Petco. Story

> Predictive analytics solutions provider Predictix named Kevin Sterneckert exec-VP of marketing. Sterneckert has more than 25 years of retail experience, most recently serving as chief marketing officer at OrderDynamics. He also spent six years at Gartner, including as VP of research in the retail practice. Sterneckert was the senior director of global product strategy at Oracle Retail, CIO at Big V Supermarkets, and director of merchandising services and development for Walmart in Mexico. "Predictix has tapped the power of the cloud and of advanced analytics to recommend the best merchandising and supply chain decisions, and I'm delighted to join the company at this exciting stage of growth and momentum," Sterneckert said. Press Release

>Outdoor specialty retailer REI promoted Julie Averill from VP of IT to CIO, making her the company's first ever CIO. Averill started at REI in 2014 and has 25 years of experience in technology leadership, including as Nordstrom's VP of technology. As CIO, Averill will be responsible for business intelligence, strategic merchandising, retail technology, digital experiences and IT infrastructure. The team she oversees will be key in the opening of REI's third distribution center—opening in Arizona next year—that will enable faster product replenishment and delivery to 40 of the retailer's 140 stores. Story

Southeastern Grocers, parent company of Winn-Dixie, Bi-Lo and Harveys, made several executive shifts and is restructuring Bi-Lo stores into east and west divisions, Supermarket News reported. Mark Scates, previously with Australian retailer Coles, was named senior VP of store operations for Southeastern Grocers. Bill Nashaan moved from chief merchandising officer of the parent company to a newly created role in which he oversees Harveys and the South Florida Winn-Dixie stores. Gordon Schmidt, a former Target VP, is a new hire and will lead Bi-Lo East while Fred Shropshier will oversee Bi-Lo West. Story

>Sprouts Farmers Market made several shifts at the very top of the executive ladder. Doug Sanders, former CEO and president, moved to executive chairman of the board, and former CFO Amin Maredia was appointed CEO. Sanders has been with Sprouts since its inception in 2002. He helped take the company from a single store to a publicly traded company with more than 200 stores in 13 states. Maredia joined Sprouts in 2011 after holding leadership positions at Burger King for six years, including VP of finance for North America and Latin America. Current VP of investor relations, Susannah Livingston, will serve as interim CFO until the executive search for a permanent CFO is complete. Jim Nielsen also shifted from COO to president and COO. Story

Target elected the former chairman and CEO of Clorox and the former CEO of Safeway to its board of directors. Donald Knauss was Clorox's CEO and chairman from 2006 to 2014, and executive chairman from 2014 to July 2015. He was also president and COO for Coca-Cola North America prior to his time at Clorox. Robert Edwards joins Target's board after being CEO at Safeway from May 2013 to April 2015, and president and CFO from 2012 to 2013. Edwards started at Safeway in 2004 as exec-VP and CFO. Story

Walmart's long-time VP of investor relations, Carol Schumacher, is leaving to pursue another job opportunity. Schumacher spent 11 years at the big-box retailer, starting as VP of corporate affairs in 2004.There has not been an announcement from the company where she will be taking the new role. As VP of investor relations, Schumacher evolved Walmart's annual report into a digital format, relaunched the corporate investor relations website, and set the guidelines for how Walmart shares financial news through social channels. An executive search to replace Schumacher is underway and Pauline Mohler, senior director of corporate finance, will serve as interim VP of investor relations. Story