Chutes & Ladders: Walmart to tap Michael Francis as CMO; The Fresh Market dismisses 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 Allison Moon and we will feature the news here at the end of each week.

> Walmart Chief Marketing Officer Stephen Quinn is retiring in January and long-time Target veteran Michael Francis (left) is expected to take his place, The Wall Street Journal reported. Quinn has been with Walmart since 2007 and led the team that created the "Save money. Live Better." slogan at Walmart. He was previously CMO at Frito Lay and PepsiCo International, where he had a 16-year stint. Francis is currently chief global brand officer at DreamWorks Animation, a role he began in December 2012. Prior to DreamWorks, he was president of JCPenney for eight months under the leadership of then-CEO Ron Johnson. However, Francis is best known for his 27-year career at Target as CMO, credited with being the chief architect of the retailer's cheap-chic image, marketing the retailer's early designer partnerships with home goods designer Michael Graves and fashion house Missoni. Story

 

Specialty grocer The Fresh Market has dismissed Sean Crane, exec-VP and COO, according to a Security and Exchange Commission filing. The filing stated termination of Crane's employment was "without cause" and effective Dec. 4, 2015, Progressive Grocer reported. Crane became interim CEO of The Fresh Market in January when former CEO Craig Carlock left the company. In September, the company found a new CEO and president in former Food Lion CEO Rick Anicetti. Crane has been at The Fresh Market since 2000 when he started as controller. He then held several leadership positions in real estate until becoming senior VP of operations in 2006. Crane held that role for six years until being named exec-VP and COO in 2012. Story

Ascena Retail Group, parent company of several retailers including Ann Taylor, Loft and Lane Bryant, made changes to its board of directors. Klaus Eppler, who has been on Ascena's board since 1993, is retiring and both Carl (Chuck) Rubin and Steven Kirshenbaum are joining the board. Rubin is currently CEO and chairman of the board at Michaels, first joining the company in 2013. He was also president and CEO of Ulta and served on the executive committee of the board of directors of the National Retail Federation. Kirshenbaum is a senior partner in the corporate department at international law firm Proskauer Rose LLP. His areas of practice are corporate, transactional, governance and securities for domestic and foreign companies. Press Release

BJ's Wholesale Club promoted president and COO Christopher Baldwin to president and CEO. Baldwin will replace current CEO Laura Sen, who is assuming the role of non-executive chairman, on Feb. 1, 2016. Baldwin just joined BJ's in September from Hess Retail Corporation, where he was also CEO. He also spent time at Kraft Foods (Nabisco), The Hershey Company, and Procter & Gamble. Baldwin will be responsible for the ongoing operations of BJ's while Sen will remain on the board, focusing on the long-term growth and strategy of the company along with the rest of the board. Sen has spent more than 25 years with BJ's and has led the company as president and CEO since 2008. Press Release

Dollar General promoted John Garratt to exec-VP and CFO. Garratt served as interim CFO since June 2015 and started at Dollar General in October 2014 as senior VP of finance and strategy. Garratt will be responsible for all aspects of Dollar General's finance and information technology operations. Prior to Dollar General, Garratt held several positions in finance, financial planning and corporate strategy at Yum Brands between 2004 and 2014. Anita Elliott was also appointed to a new role, chief accounting officer, now reporting to Garratt. Elliott has been senior VP and controller since 2005. Elliott's prior experience includes time at Big Lots as VP and controller as well as VP and controller at grocery retailer Jitney-Jungle Stores of America. Story

Kroger appointed Anne Gates, president of MGA Entertainment, to its board of directors. From 1992 to 2012, Gates held several leadership roles at the Walt Disney Company, including exec-VP, managing director and CFO for Disney consumer products and senior VP of operations, planning and analysis. She also spent time at PepsiCo and Bear Stearns. Currently, Gates is chairwoman of Big Sunday and also a member of the boards at Columbia University School of Engineering, Cadre and PBS SoCal. She will serve on Kroger's board until the annual shareholder's meeting in June 2016, and will stand for election by the shareholders at that time. Press Release

Doug Tompkins, founder of both North Face and Esprit, died in a kayaking accident in southern Chile at the age of 72. Tompkins suffered severe hypothermia and was flown to Coyhaique Regional Hospital, where his death was confirmed, The New York Times reported. In addition to founding North Face in the mid-1960s, he cofounded multibillion-dollar casual sportswear retailer Esprit with his first wife, Susie Tompkins Buell, and Jane Tise. By 1990, Tompkins became wary of the corporate world, sold his stake in Esprit—reportedly worth more than $150 million—and used that fortune to fund conservation efforts in Chile and Argentina. An avid conservationist, he also founded the Foundation for Deep Ecology. He is survived by his wife, two daughters, his mother, Faith, and his brother, John. Story

> Digital offer marketplace RetailMeNot appointed Tamar Yehoshua to its board of directors. Yehoshua is a VP at Google, where she leads the mobile search team and international strategy for all Google search products. Yehoshua was also VP for advertising technology at A9, an Amazon company. Her other experience includes senior engineering leadership roles at Reasoning Inc., and Noosh Inc. Story

E-commerce technology startup Salsify has named Adam Ferrari as VP of engineering, responsible for leading and building the team that creates the Salsify platform and building out other technical capabilities. Along with the rest of the executive team, Ferrari will drive product vision and further Salsify's technical brand, including its engineering blog. Ferrari was CTO and a founding member of the technology team at Endeca Technologies, an information retrieval and analytics company, where he spent 12 years. Following Oracle's acquisition of Endeca in 2011, he worked in the Oracle Business Intelligence Group and continued driving technology strategy and innovation. For the past two years, Ferrari has served at CTO at Crisply, a machine learning startup focused on CRM analytics. Story

Vera Bradley added 25-year retail veteran Mary Lou Kelley to its board of directors. Kelley is currently president of e-commerce at Best Buy. Prior to joining Best Buy in 2014, Kelley was senior VP of e-commerce for Chico's FAS. She also worked for L.L. Bean as VP of e-commerce as well as VP of retail real estate and marketing. Earlier in her career, Kelley held marketing positions at Ashford.com and Ben & Jerry's. She started her career as a consultant and engagement manager at McKinsey & Company. Story

Whole Foods Market named Tien Ho global VP of culinary and hospitality, responsible for leading the prepared foods and bakery team. He will be based at the company's headquarters in Austin, Texas, and start in January 2016. Ho was most recently corporate executive chef at Morgans Hotel Group, where he led culinary development, kitchen design, concept development and strategic partnerships across the group's 10 hotel brands. Prior to his role at Morgans Hotel Group, Ho held chef and partner positions at several prestigious restaurant brands in New York, including Little Wisco, Momofuku Ssäm Bar and Má Pêche. He was named Best New Chef by New York magazine in 2011 for his Asian cuisine at Má Pêche. Story

 

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