After 3 Months at the Helm, Vera Bradley CEO Jackie Ardrey Shakes Up Executive Team

After only three months at the helm, Vera Bradley, Inc. president and CEO Jackie Ardrey is shaking up the company’s leadership team.

In an unexpected move last week, Ardrey announced the company – which launched its first line of women’s footwear in September – would be reorganizing its leadership team in a move to “streamline” its corporate structure as it looked to “drive cost savings,” add more focus on marketing and merchandising, and position the company for growth amid a “challenging” macro environment.

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As a part of the reorganization, the Fort Wayne, Ind.-based company has eliminated the positions of Vera Bradley brand president, chief creative officer, and chief revenue officer, resulting in the exits of Daren Hull, Beatrice Mac Cabe and Mary Beth Trypus, who held each respective role.

According to Ardrey, these most recent organizational changes will produce annualized savings of over $2 million, on top of the $25 million of cost reductions previously identified and largely realized in fiscal 2023.

As for the three executives that parted with the company, Ardrey added that Daren, Beatrice, and Mary Beth each have made “many meaningful contributions to the fabric and culture” of the company. “Individually, each has made a big impact on Vera Bradley and the company we are today,” Ardrey said. “Their influences will be with us for years to come.”

At the same time, Vera Bradley has hired Alison Hiatt as the company’s new chief marketing officer to oversee digital marketing, customer data, and e-commerce. Creative marketing, retail store, and retail brand experience teams will also report to Hiatt, the company added.

Hiatt most recently served as chief marketing officer for ice cream company Salt and Straw. Prior to Salt and Straw, Hiatt was chief marketing officer of Banfield Pet Hospitals, a division of Mars, Inc. Previously, she held marketing-related and other retail posts with REI, Starbucks, and Amazon.

The company is also looking to hire an SVP of merchandising and design that will have merchandising, product development, design, and merchandise, planning, and allocation reporting into that new post. A search is currently underway.

Separately, Pura Vida co-presidents Griffin Thall and Paul Goodman have made the decision to leave the company, effective Jan. 28. As such, Vera Bradley, Inc. will acquire the remaining 25% interest in Pura Vida from Thall and Goodman for $10 million, effective Jan. 30, 2023.

Vera Bradley acquired a 75% interest in Creative Genius, Inc., which also operates under the name Pura Vida Bracelets, in July 2019. With this move, Pura Vida becomes a wholly owned company under the Vera Bradley, Inc. umbrella.

The search for president of Pura Vida is currently underway, the company said. In the interim, Pura Vida’s VP of finance, Sujay Shah, will assume day-to-day oversight of the brand and will report directly to Ardrey. Although Thall is leaving day-to-day operations, he will continue in a consulting role to support the team with marketing and branding direction.

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