Chutes & Ladders: Toys R Us names new CEO, Groupon appoints COO

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 Drew Woolley at [email protected] and we will feature it here at the end of each week.

> Toys R Us announced that David Brandon will become chairman and CEO in July. Brandon was chairman and CEO of Domino's Pizza for 11 years, leading the company through several initiatives and the largest IPO in restaurant history, which doubled the company's enterprise value to $2.5 billion. Brandon will replace current CEO of Toys R Us Antonio Urcelay, who is retiring after two years as CEO and 17 years with the company. Prior to Domino's, Brandon was president and CEO of Valassis Communications, where he improved operational performance and transitioned the company from a private family-owned business to a publicly traded multimedia company. Press Release

> Groupon named Rich Williams COO of its global businesses and operations. Currently, Williams serves as president of Groupon's North America business and will maintain that responsibility as well. He has two decades of marketing and leadership experience, namely leading extensive online marketing programs using analytics and relevant technology. "Rich has been integral in steering our North American local business to three consecutive quarters of double-digit growth and helping to lead Groupon's transformation to a mobile commerce marketplace," said Groupon CEO Eric Lefkofsky. Williams started at Groupon as CMO in 2011 and previously held leadership positions at Amazon and Experian. Groupon also announced the departure of CFO Jason Child, who is stepping down in July and relocating to the West Coast. Press Release

> Ace Hardware announced Rick Williams, a 25-year veteran of the company, as its new VP of information technology, reporting to executive VP and CFO Bill Guzik. He will be responsible for driving strategic technology and systems management. Williams first joined Ace Hardware as a software developer and worked within the retail division of IT for 15 years. Throughout his career he has worked with or supported every department, and has held various positions such as director of software engineering and, most recently, senior director of IT business systems. Press Release

> Men's Wearhouse appointed Ben Baum executive VP and chief digital officer. Baum's career includes time at both Google and Bebe Stores. As CDO, he will be responsible for all digital and omnichannel initiatives at Men's Wearhouse, reporting directly to CEO Doug Ewert. Baum served as CDO at Bebe Stores and as head of business development for multichannel retail and shopping at Google. He also held various merchandising positions at Target, including women's apparel and segmentations merchandising. Press Release

> Neiman Marcus announced Donald Grimes will join the company as executive VP, COO and CFO. He will be taking over for Jim Skinner, who will now serve as vice chairman, a newly created position. Grimes has past leadership experience at Wolverine World Wide, where he was senior VP, CFO and treasurer. Grimes will be responsible for financing, accounting, investor relations, tax, legal, distribution, fulfilment and properties. "Along with his vast experience, keen intelligence and ability to produce results, Don brings a balance of pragmatism and creativity—essential qualities for transforming our business and envisioning its future," said Karen Katz, Neiman Marcus president and CEO. His past career includes leadership positions at Keystone Automotive Operations and Brown-Forman Corp. Grimes began his career at Coopers & Lybrand. Press Release

> Apparel retailer True Religion promoted John Ermatinger to CEO, replacing David Conn, who is stepping down. Ermatinger previously served as True Religion's interim senior VP of global sourcing and production. As True Religion's new CEO, Ermatinger will continue building on strategic initiatives that were implemented after TowerBrook's acquisition of the company in July 2013. Ermatinger's career history includes several top-level positions. He served as CEO of Tommy Hilfiger (Asia Pacific), president of Gap (Asia Pacific), president of the Americas for Levi Strauss & Co. and general manager of Nike (Asia Pacific). Press Release

> Vera Bradley announced the addition of Theresa Palermo as executive VP and CMO, reporting directly to CEO Robert Wallstrom. Palermo joins Vera Bradley after serving as VP of global marketing and public relations at Fossil Group. As executive VP and CMO at Vera Bradley, Palermo will be responsible for developing and implementing marketing strategies to build brand awareness and drive revenue growth across all channels. Prior to her most recent position at Fossil, Palermo also served as Fossil's global senior director of marketing and held other leadership marketing roles at Collective Brands, The Timberland Company and the J. Jill Group. Press Release

> Online furniture retailer Wayfair named Jeremy Delinsky as chief technology officer. Delinksy has more than 10 years of leadership experience, previously serving as CTO at athenahealth and, most recently, as chief product officer. Delinksy will report directly to Steve Conine, Wayfair co-founder and co-chairman, who formerly served as CTO. During his four years as CTO at athenahealth, Delinsky was responsible for improving software development, user experience, product management and technology infrastructure organizations. As chief product officer, he managed the development and commercialization of athenahealth's emerging products. Press Release

> Xcel Brands appointed veteran Target executive and former JCPenny president Michael Francis to its board of directors. Currently, Francis is the chief global brand officer for DreamWorks Animation SKG. Prior to DreamWorks, he was the founder and CEO of Farview Associates, a brand development agency; and president of JCPenny and global CMO at Target, where he spent more than 26 years. Francis has been named one of the world's top marketers by Advertising Age and is also billed as one of the top global innovators by Business Week and Fast Company. Press Release