OPERATIONS

Ikea CEO to step down

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Stockholm, Sweden — Ikea said Monday that its CEO Mikael Ohlsson will step down effective Sept. 1, 2013, and will be succeeded by Peter Agnefjall, current country manager of Ikea Sweden.

To prepare Agnefjall for his new role, Ikea said that he will serve as VP of the company beginning in 2013 until his September transition.

Ikea also announced that founder Ingvar Kamprad has elevated his three sons’ roles in the company. Peter, Mathias and Jonas will have "more active ownership roles," according to Ikea spokesman Per Heggenes. The retailer said the two moves are unrelated.

Peter, the eldest son, has been working in Ikea’s purchasing and retail operation and now chairs Ikano. Jonas, a former Ikea furniture designer, sits on the board of the Ingka holding company. Youngest brother Mathias has worked as an assistant to his father and is on the board of Inter Ikea.

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OPERATIONS

Survey: Canada is land of opportunity

BY Katherine Boccaccio

New York — Survey results released Tuesday by WSL/Strategic Retail found that Canada represents a strong expansion opportunity for U.S. retailers.

The “How Canada Shops” research study revealed that 64% of Canadians can still afford to shop beyond the basics – versus half of Americans, who say they cannot.



“As U.S. companies struggle with sales and profit growth in a stalled global economy, and as the Internet continues to steal share of shoppers from the stores, the opportunity to expand into Canada has become very appealing,” said Wendy Liebmann, CEO of WSL/Strategic Retail. “While each of the major retail categories exist, Costco is the only club; Walmart faces off against a weak Zellers (at least until Target arrives in 2013); and The Bay and Sears are the only mid-tier department stores. The added bonus is that few Canadians shop Amazon.”


However, U.S. retailers will still need to tailor strategies to the Canadian consumer. “While there is significant opportunity, we have also found important differences in the way Canadians think and shop, vs. Americans, which will require U.S. retailers to consider new strategies and approaches when entering this market,” said Candace Corlett, president of WSL/Strategic Retail.

She said that Canadians have been found to be less passionate about shopping than Americans and their online activities are less.

Other survey highlights include:

  • 55% of Canadian women regularly use coupons to reduce costs, whereas 68% of American women utilize coupons when shopping;
  • 50% of Canadian women search the Internet for promotions versus 61% of American women shoppers;
  • 57% of Canadian women pick up circulars in store versus 71% of American women;
  • 50% of Canadian women say they shop online, as opposed to 75% of American women;
  • 31% of Canadian women shoppers visit retailer and manufacturer websites versus 50% of American women shoppers; and
  • Only 26% of Canadians are able to download apps onto their mobile phones, compared with nearly half of Americans who have that ability.
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Walgreens announces new executive roles to help unleash Walgreens-Alliance Boots synergies

BY Michael Johnsen

Deerfield, Ill. — Walgreens on Tuesday announced several new senior management roles, including an expanded role for CFO Wade Miquelon and the appointment of current senior VP and chief strategy officer Robert Zimmerman as the lead executive responsible for the Walgreens-Alliance Boots’ "synergy team." Succeeding Zimmerman as chief strategy officer will be Brad Fluegel.

“These new roles will allow us to move forward aggressively, working closely together with Alliance Boots, to implement our strategic partnership and realize the extensive synergies from the acquisition, as well as accelerate our core growth strategies to achieve our purpose to help people get, stay and live well,” Walgreens president and CEO Greg Wasson said.

With the announcement, Miquelon will assume an expanded and global leadership role at Walgreens as EVP/CFO and leading a newly named value creation services and international division in the role of international president. As he continues to lead Walgreens finance functions as CFO, Miquelon now will serve as Wasson’s senior leader in collaborating with Alliance Boots management team to execute the new global strategic partnership.

Zimmerman now will lead a new global mergers and acquisitions “synergy team” as SVP international and international chief administration officer. In his new role as Walgreens key project leader on the Alliance Boots partnership, Zimmerman will also serve on the Alliance Boots board of directors. “As our chief strategy officer for several years, Bob has been critical in helping us to evolve our core growth strategies, which is why I’ve asked him to take on this role heavily focused on ensuring we execute with excellence on this transformative and critical transaction,” Wasson said.

Joining the company as SVP and chief strategy officer is Fluegel, who was executive in residence at Health Evolution Partners prior to joining Walgreens, and previously served as EVP and chief strategy and external affairs officer of Wellpoint, one of the nation’s largest health benefits company, where he was responsible for long-term strategic planning, government affairs, corporate communications, including public relations, corporate development, international expansion, innovation and new business ventures. In addition to serving as Walgreens chief strategy officer, Fluegel also will lead the company’s project management office and corporate consulting team, as well as work together with Zimmerman on the company’s venture capital efforts.

As part of the Alliance Boots announcement in June, Walgreens stated that it expects combined synergies across both companies of between $100 million and $150 million in the first year and $1 billion by the end of 2016. To carry out a focused effort to capture those synergies, the company is setting up six new “global synergy teams” in Miquelon’s new organization that will work closely with Alliance Boots.

In addition to Zimmerman’s global mergers and acquisitions team, the additional global synergy teams will oversee global value creation, global projects, new markets and international expansion, and procurement and pharmaceutical development.

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