As of the end of November, 20 retail CEOs had left their roles, year-to-date, according to a report from executive outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas.
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While it may not be a full-blown exodus, this changing of the guard coincides with broader shifts occurring in the industry, such as an emphasis on digital growth, diversity in leadership and a focus on a robust omnichannel strategy.
Here were some of the biggest retail and footwear CEO exits in 2022:
Under Armour president and CEO Patrik Frisk stepped down from his role in June. He took over as president and CEO in January 2020.
Under Armour has initiated an internal and external search process to identify Frisk’s successor, and has appointed COO Colin Browne as interim president and CEO until a successor is named.
The RealReal founder Julie Wainwright announced her departure from her role as CEO, chairperson, and member of the board after 11 years in June. Rati Sahi Levesque, The RealReal’s president and COO, and Robert Julian, the company’s CFO, have served as co-interim CEOs.
The resale company’s board retained an executive search firm to commence a comprehensive search process to identify a new CEO. Wainwright will serve in an advisory role as the founder through the end of 2022.
In July, Caleres announced that Diane Sullivan would transition from CEO to the executive chairman role on Jan. 15, 2023, with Jay Schmidt taking the reins as CEO.
Sullivan spent more than a decade dramatically evolving Caleres and is one of the highest-ranking women in the industry. She recently led the St. Louis-based firm to its best-ever Q1 performance and had been CEO since 2011.
The move was the culmination of a planned succession process.
Gap Inc. in July announced that its president and CEO, Sonia Syngal, would step down from her role in the company and on its board, with Gap executive chairman Bob Martin serving as interim president and CEO. Syngal served as the CEO of Gap Inc. since March 2020 and had worked at the company for 18 years, including as the head of its Old Navy business.
The news came shortly after another major executive shift for the company in April, when Nancy Green stepped down from her role as president and CEO of Old Navy. Horacio “Haio” Barbeito took over as president and CEO of Old Navy.
Rorsted was announced as the CEO of Adidas in January 2016, succeeding 15-year company veteran Herbert Hainer. He assumed control of Adidas on Oct. 1, 2016, after a two-month transition period. At the time of the announcement, Rorsted was the CEO of consumer goods maker Henkel AG & Co.
Foot Locker Inc. said in August that its CEO, Dick Johnson would step down and be replaced by Ulta Beauty CEO Mary Dillon, effective Sept. 1.
Johnson assumed the role of CEO in 2014 following the departure of Ken Hicks. Prior to that, Johnson had been with Foot Locker for almost two decades.
Johnson will serve as executive chairman of the board through Jan. 31, 2023, after which Foot Locker’s lead independent director Dona Young will replace him as the company’s non-executive chair.
Reebok announced in September that Todd Krinsky would assume the role of CEO, reporting to Sparc Group CEO Marc Miller. Krinsky succeeds longtime leader Matt O’Toole, who will join Reebok owner Authentic Brands Group (ABG) in 2023 as its executive vice chairman. He will work with Krinsky on the transition until that time.
Krinsky has spent 30 years at Reebok, and most recently served as SVP of the Reebok Design Group (RDG), which is its global hub for product design, development and innovation.
In November, Puma CEO Bjørn Gulden, who assumed the top role in 2013, said he would be stepping away from the company. Later, he announced his decision to join Adidas as CEO.
Puma’s supervisory board appointed 11-year company veteran Arne Freundt as CEO and chairman of the company’s management board. Freundt’s contract is for four years, effective Jan. 1, 2023.
Kohl’s in November said that Michelle Gass would step down from her role as CEO and member of the board of directors, effective December 2. She left to join Levi Strauss & Co. as president and CEO in waiting to replace president Chip Bergh within the next 18 months.
Tom Kingsbury has served as interim CEO of Kohl’s.
Benno Dorer, lead independent director of the VF board of directors, was named interim president and CEO, as the company undergoes a search for a successor.
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