Toys R Us hires three new execs

Toys R Us has taken some significant steps in the renovation of its executive team. The retailer of children's toys announced three new appointments Sept. 9 that are intended to position the company for "long-term profitable growth" as part of its "Tru Transformation" strategy.

"One of the key pillars of our 'Tru Transformation' strategy is to develop high-performing, highly engaged, diverse teams, and we are assembling talent that can help lead important areas of the business and offer fresh perspectives," said Antonio Urcelay, chairman and CEO, Toys R Us. "With these new leaders and our internal team, we are intensely focused on looking at every aspect of the business for process improvement in making the company fit for growth."

The first appointment went to Debbie Lentz, who has been named senior VP, chief supply chain officer. She will be responsible for U.S. distribution, customs compliance, global importing and exporting, fleet operations and domestic transportation, according to a company statement. Lentz will report to Hank Mullany, president of Toys R Us, U.S. She will oversee inventory planning and allocation as well as e-commerce fulfillment.

Lentz leads logistics strategy development for the company's international markets as well as efforts to improve global supply chain efficiencies, reporting in this capacity to Antonio Urcelay.

Previously, Lentz worked for Kraft Foods Group and acted as the company's senior VP, customer service and logistics. There, she was charged with oversight of a team of associates across a network of distribution centers, direct store delivery branches, warehouses and a large truck fleet. She also held positions relating to global procurement, information systems, manufacturing operations and supply chain throughout the company's European and North American presence.

The second appointment went to Christine Morena, who was named senior VP, human resources. She will report to Deb Derby, vice chairman, Toys R Us. Morena will be charged with providing strategic guidance and operational support to the company's global Human Resources organization throughout its headquarters and regional offices, as well as stores and distribution centers in the U.S. and internationally.

Morena previously acted as principal of her own advisory services business, providing counsel to senior managers and boards on building best-in-class organizational structures and programs. Before that, she acted as executive VP and chief human resources officer for Saks Incorporated.

The last appointment went to Joe Venezia, who was named senior VP, store operations. Venezia will be responsible for transforming the in-store experience through strong operations disciplines and customer service excellence in the company's store network across the country.

Venezia formerly acted as senior VP of store operations at The Pantry, a convenience store chain based in North Carolina. Before that, Venezia was senior VP of Walmart U.S. and president for the company's Northeast division. He's also held executive positions with Wells Fargo and Procter & Gamble.

Other recent executive appointments at Toys R Us include those of Michael Short, who was named executive VP, CFO, and Chetan Bhandari, who was named senior VP, corporate finance and treasurer.

The appointments arrive after Toys R Us announced the launch of its "Tru Transformation" strategy in March, which includes four major components: transform the shopping experience in-store and online; collaborate with business partners to drive differentiation, innovation and value; develop high-performing, highly engaged, diverse talent; and become fit for growth."

Toys R Us has seen wavering growth lately, with consolidated net sales in the second quarter up just 2.7 percent from the year prior. Press Release