OPERATIONS

Darden retains Russell Reynolds in CEO search

BY Dan Berthiaume

Orlando, Fla. – Darden Restaurants Inc. has retained global executive search firm Russell Reynolds Associates to assist the company with the recruitment of its next CEO. As previously announced, Clarence Otis is stepping down as chairman and CEO of Darden.

To ensure a smooth transition, Charles A. Ledsinger Jr. has been appointed independent non-executive chairman of the board, and Mr. Otis has agreed to continue serving as CEO of Darden until the earlier of the appointment of his successor or Dec. 31, 2014.

Ledsinger is leading the search along with the board’s nominating and governance committee, which consists solely of independent directors. Russell Reynolds Associates will work closely with the committee and the Darden board.

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OPERATIONS

Study: Department stores have best growth opportunity in Canada

BY Dan Berthiaume

Los Angeles – The Canadian market offers an opportunity for U.S. retailers to expand and to gain experience operating in an international market. According to a new study from market research firm IbisWorld, the U.S. retail segment best suited for expansion into Canada is department stores, followed by men’s clothing stores.

In order, the remainder of the top five U.S. retail categories primed for expansion into Canada are shoe stores, auto parts stores, and lingerie, swim and bridal stores. According to IbisWorld analysis, U.S. industries best suited to expand into Canada are characterized by slow growth and a high level of market share concentration, with few dominant major players generating the majority of industry revenue. In contrast, Canadian industries primed for entry tend to be fragmented and exhibit low levels of market share concentration; these industries are especially appealing if they consistently post revenue growth.

IbisWorld also advises that the Canadian retail sector has exhibited rapid growth in the past five years. Consumers have remained financially confident, with plenty of cash on hand for discretionary purchases. Most are familiar with U.S. stores and frequently cross the border to shop for a broader selection of brands. Furthermore, the Canadian retail sector is a less-crowded field with fewer dominant players.

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OPERATIONS

Walgreens outlines new operational leadership structure

BY Michael Johnsen

Deerfield, Ill. — Following Walgreens’ announcement last week about taking the next step in acquiring Alliance Boots, Alex Gourlay, executive VP Walgreens Boots Alliance and president of Walgreens, announced a proposed operational organization structure in a letter to Walgreens employees.

Mark Wagner, currently president of community management and store operations, will take on a new role as president of business operations. In this new role, Wagner will be responsible for creating a customer-focused organization that supports Walgreens’ stores, eliminates waste and simplifies the work flow.

Brad Fluegel, currently senior VP and chief strategy officer, will become senior VP chief strategy and business development officer. He will continue to lead strategy for Walgreens and expand his responsibilities to include developing and implementing Walgreens’ healthcare clinic, clinical office and healthcare innovation strategies.

And Richard Ashworth will be returning from Alliance Boots in a new role as president of retail and pharmacy operations. He will assume responsibility for the field organization to implement a single customer plan and deliver customer care through Walgreens’ community locations.

Sona Chawla, president and digital and chief marketing officer, will continue in that role.

"I will continue to lead our merchandising team while we search for a new leader for the daily living organization," Gourlay wrote. "All of these proposed new roles and titles are subject to approval by the board of directors and will be effective as of Sept. 1," he said.

"I look forward to bringing together this talented team and continuing to work with Greg [Wasson] and the rest of our business partners across Walgreens," Gourlay added. "Looking to the future, we need to stay focused on our customers and patients because that’s what has made Walgreens the great business and brand that it is today. To continue to move forward, we will need to call on the company’s historic strengths — pharmacy-led, customer-driven, with a commitment to each other and a focus on care and service."

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