Chutes & Ladders: Meijer president leaves for Academy Sports; Tuesday Morning CEO retires

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.

Meijer president J. K. Symancyk is leaving the grocery chain to lead Academy Sports + Outdoors as president and CEO, effective Nov. 2. Symancyk was president of Meijer for nearly three years, leading the chain through a string of consistent comparable store sales increases, new market expansion and development of a long-term diversification strategy. He was promoted to the president role after one year as COO. At Academy, Symancyk succeeds Rodney Faldyn, a 10-year veteran of the company. Under Faldyn's leadership, the sports and outdoor retailer grew its store count by 50 percent, launched a new e-commerce platform, implemented a new Oracle management system, and doubled its cash flow from earnings. Faldyn started as Academy's CFO in 2006, was promoted to president in 2007, and became CEO when private equity firm KRR acquired majority interest of Academy in 2011. Full story



> Discount retailer Tuesday Morning CEO Michael Rouleau is retiring, effective immediately. Steven Becker, board chairman, will oversee Tuesday Morning's strategic initiatives until a new CEO is appointed. Rouleau led Tuesday Morning as CEO for just over two years and was a member of the board since November 2012. He was CEO of arts and crafts retailer Michaels for 10 years, retiring from that role in 2006. As part of Rouleau's departure, the company has formed a new office of the chairman with Becker at the helm. Terry Burman, a board member, will serve as a new lead independent director and vice chairman. At 76 years old, Rouleau has had an expansive career in retail, starting as one of the original 25 employees at Target in the 1960s, The Dallas Morning News reported. He also cofounded Office Warehouse, which was later merged with Office Max, and served as exec-VP of store operations at Lowe's. Full story

To round out a reshuffling of exec-VPs earlier this month, Kroger has announced a new president of the Delta division. Scot Hendricks, who was most recently VP of operations, will now lead all Kroger stores in western Tennessee, Kentucky, Mississippi, Arkansas and Missouri. Hendricks has been with Kroger since 1981, starting in the Nashville division management training program. He was a grocery buyer beginning in 1983 and then held various leadership roles in the Atlanta division until 2000. From 2000 to 2011, Hendricks worked in Kroger's general office, in roles including VP of grocery merchandising and procurement. He was then promoted to VP of merchandising for the Cincinnati/Dayton division. Full story

Ralph Lauren is giving up his title of CEO to Old Navy's former global president, Stefan Larsson. Lauren will still play an active role in the company as executive chairman and chief creative officer, and Larsson will report to him. Under Larsson's leadership, Gap's Old Navy division achieved three consecutive years of profitable growth, adding $1 billion in sales. Prior to Old Navy, he worked at Swedish retailer H&M for 15 years, helping sales grow from $3 to $17 billion and expanding operations from 12 to 44 countries. Larsson's appointment will become effective in November and he will also become a member of the Ralph Lauren board. Full story

SmartStore Business Intelligence Solutions, a cloud-based predictive analytics solutions provider, appointed long-time Walmart veteran Tom Coughlin to the role of executive advisor. Coughlin has more than 40 years of retail experience, with background in predictive software, loss prevention, and corporate personnel training. The new executive advisor joined Walmart in 1978 and was a close friend of Walmart founder Sam Walton. He started in the retailer's security division, then became VP of loss prevention. Rising through the ranks, Coughlin also served as VP of human resources and later as exec-VP and CEO of the flagship Walmart stores division from 1998 to 1999. In 2002, Coughlin became a member of the Walmart board of directors and was named CEO of Sam's Club USA. Full story