OPERATIONS

President of Office Depot’s North American division resigns

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Office Depot announced that Kevin Peters had resigned from his role as president of the retailer’s North American division, effective immediately.

Office Depot said Peters was leaving the chain after five years to become CEO of an unidentified industrial distribution company.

"In his five years with Office Depot, Kevin was instrumental in building a strong team while driving the strategic vision for our North American sales channels and our supply chain organization," said Neil Austrian, Office Depot’s chairman and CEO. "We thank him for his many contributions to our company and wish him well in the future."

Austrian will now oversee the company’s North American business.

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OPERATIONS

RILA announces appointments in retail operations

BY Staff Writer

Arlington, Va. — The Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) announced that Garth Gasse has joined the association as director of retail operations, asset protection and Lisa LaBruno has been promoted to SVP retail operations.

In her new capacity, LaBruno will oversee RILA’s operational efforts, which bring together executives from across the retail enterprise, including supply chain and asset protection, to address challenges and advance the retail industry. LaBruno will also play a major role in the planning of RILA’s educational and networking conferences.

Garth Gasse joins RILA following 14 years with Toys “R” Us and Babies “R” Us, most recently as regional asset protection manager. In his new role Gasse will work with loss prevention executives from across the retail industry to identify common challenges and leading practices. Gasse will report to Lisa LaBruno.

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News

Former footwear exec vaults over to Topo Athletic

BY CSA STAFF

NEWTON, Mass. — Former Reebok and New Balance executive Chris Cohen has been named VP of sales at Topo Athletic.

Founded in December 2012, Topo is a brand focused on designing innovative athletic gear that amplifies the natural mechanics of the human body. In his new role, Cohen will lead North American sales and sales operations for Topo.

Cohen has more than 20 years of sales experience, including 15 years in sales management. He’s held leadership positions at the Timberland Company, Reebok International, Hi-Tec Sports and, most recently, New Balance Athletic, where he played a role in sales leadership since 2004. While at New Balance Athletic, Cohen was responsible for the strategic vision, direction and sales execution of 145 US-based New Balance specialty stores. Prior to that, he was responsible for the Family Specialty Channel, which included more than 1,000 domestic accounts. During this time, Cohen developed and executed sales initiatives that delivered brand consistency and achieved continual growth within the channels.

Cohen will be charged with building a best-in-class sales organization focused on retail partnerships, dealer service and training. Topo Athletic’s sales agencies and service organization will report to Cohen, and his team will help prepare for the company’s launch at the Outdoor Retailer Show on January 23.

"What really sets Chris Cohen apart is his broad leadership experience working with footwear and equipment retailers to build a strong and sustainable business with their wholesale partners. His blend of creative, analytical and strategic talents will surely make a meaningful contribution to the Topo Athletic team and the rapid expansion of our business," said Tony Post, CEO and founder of Topo Athletic.

"I am thrilled to be joining the Topo Athletic team and respect what Tony Post brings to the footwear industry. The opportunity to work with him and the team he has assembled represents a once in a lifetime opportunity, as we look to create a world class brand and company, with a focus on innovation and total customer service," said Cohen.

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