OPERATIONS

Chute Gerdeman fills new position of VP of technology and experience design

BY Marianne Wilson

Columbus, Ohio — Strategic brand and design firm Chute Gerdeman has named Jim Crawford to the new position of VP of technology and experience design. He will be responsible for integrating next-generation technology into the shopping experiences and store designs that Chute Gerdeman creates for its clients.

Crawford joins Chute Gerdeman from Taberna Retail, where he served clients such as Disney, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Microsoft and Crutchfield. Crawford brings more than 20 years of successful experience in strategic consumer-centric technology development to tier one retailers and brands worldwide, having also served in leadership positions at Retail Forward/Kantar, Forrester Research, Intel and SAP.

“Jim brings energy, experience and a unique perspective to our business," said Chute Gerdeman president and CCO Brian Shafley. “He has a deep understanding of how technology changes both the expectations of shoppers and the experience retailers and brands can deliver. This understanding, coupled with Chute Gerdeman’s capabilities in designing and executing brand experiences, will be a tremendous asset to our organization and to our clients.”

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OPERATIONS

Wal-Mart International names new CEO

BY Dan Berthiaume

Bentonville, Ark. – Wal-Mart Stores named David Cheesewright, 51, as the new president and CEO of Walmart International. He succeeds Douglas McMillon, who is set to become the chain’s CEO, the retailer’s top executive. Both assume their new roles on Feb. 1, 2014.

Cheesewright’s successor will be named at a later date. His Wal-Mart career began in 1999 at Asda, the company’s U.K. operation, where he held leadership positions in operations, merchandising, logistics, strategy and format development. He was the CEO for both Walmart Canada and Asda before being named CEO of Wal-Mart Canada. In 2011, he was named to his current position as president and CEO of Wal-Mart’s EMEA and Canada region. Before his career with Walmart, Cheesewright held leadership positions in the U.K. with Mars Confectionery.

The international division is Wal-Mart’s second largest business after the U.S. operations and generates nearly 30% of the company’s revenue. It includes more than 6,300 stores in 26 countries outside the U.S.

"I’m honored to be named to lead our international business at a time when our customers around the world need us more than ever," said Cheesewright. "A tremendous opportunity lies ahead for our company. Our success is dependent on our associates, and I’m committed to investing in them. Together, we will find innovative and sustainable ways to serve our customers and provide them with the quality, affordable products they expect from us. Through strong capital discipline, we will continue to invest in new stores and e-commerce growth, as well as productivity improvements that drive profitable growth and returns."

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Lululemon names new CEO; founder to step down as chairman

BY Marianne Wilson

Vancouver, British Columbia — Lululemon Athletica Inc. on Tuesday named Laurent Potdevin as CEO, and also announced founder Chip Wilson will step down as non-executive chairman. Potdevin, most recently president of Toms Shoes, will replace Lululemon’s current CEO, Christine Day, in January, and will also become a director at that time. Prior to Toms, he served as president and CEO of Burton Snowboards from 2005 – 2010.

“After a thorough search, Laurent emerged as the natural choice to lead our continued growth and global expansion," said Michael Casey, lead director of the company’s board of directors and member of the CEO search committee. "We believe Lululemon will benefit from Laurent’s leadership experience and proven track record of success in building global brands. He has more than two decades of experience at premium, technical athletic apparel, and lifestyle-centric retail companies, and his shared passion for driving innovative, community-focused brands makes him an excellent cultural fit for Lululemon. Additionally, his deep understanding of the importance of top-quality technical design, retail marketing strategies, and the power of building a strong brand provides him with the tools we believe are necessary to lead our next exciting phase of growth."

The announcement come as the women’s yoga-wear retailer tries to regain its footing after a major product quality issue resulted in a lawsuit and some other gaffes, including public remarks by Wilson that not all women’s bodies are a good fit for Lululemon’s yoga pants. His remarks caused widespread condemnation and also a significant drop in the company’s stock price.

Lululemon’s current CEO announced her decision to resign in June 2013, but said she would stay until a successor was found.

Wilson, who founded Lululemon in 1998 and owns about 9% of the company, will step down as non-executive chairman prior to Lululemon’s annual meeting in June. Wilson, who will remain on the board, is being replaced by Michael Casey, lead director of the board.

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