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Former Brookstone, Talbots execs join women’s plus-size retail chain

BY Marianne Wilson

Avenue Stores has appointed two retail veterans to its senior management team.

The value plus-size fashion retailer named Nancy Toth Viall as chief merchandising officer. She most recently served as senior VP/ GMM of merchandising and design/product development at Talbots. She has also held roles at May Department Stores and Casual Corner,

In addition, the retailer named Stephen Silbaugh as chief marketing officer. He most recently served as chief brand officer for Brookstone. He also held leadership roles held at L Brands, Ralph Lauren, Michael Kors and AT&T.

Both of the newly appointed executives assumed their new roles in November and report directly to Avenue CEO Liz Williams.

“We are delighted to welcome Nancy and Stephen to the Avenue management team. Their deep expertise in fashion and retail will be invaluable as we work toward strengthening our position as a leader in the plus-size women’s apparel industry,” Williams stated. “These exceptional leaders exemplify our efforts to refine our organizational structure to ensure we are strategically aligned to bring the most value to our customers and maximize growth opportunities.”

Avenue operates more than 280 stores across 35 U.S. states.

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Under Armour taps Yahoo! exec to help with digital; names CFO

BY Marianne Wilson

Under Armour announced a series of executive moves as it continues to restructure its digital business.

The company has appointed Michael La Guardia as senior VP, digital product, effective January 8, reporting to Paul Fipps, chief technology officer. La Guardia was most recently the head of product for both Yahoo! Finance and Sports. Prior to that, he worked with AOL/Netscape in increasing positions of responsibility. At Under Armour, La Guardia will have responsibility for leading the strategy for all digital product development

“As part of the restructuring we initiated this summer that integrates technology across our core business — connected fitness digital product, digital engineering and digital media — will now all report directly to me,” said Flipps. “This integration significantly enhances our ability to engage consumers with elevated experiences, premium products and personalized services.”

In related news, Mike Lee and Albert Lee, the co-founders of MyFitnessPal, which Under Armour acquired in 2015, announced their decision to leave the company in January to pursue their next entrepreneurial ventures.

In a separate release, Under Armour announced that David Bergman has been named CFO. He has served as acting CFO since February 2017. Bergman joined Under Armour in 2004 and has held several senior management roles within the company’s finance and accounting organization.

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Big Lots CEO out — but only temporarily

BY Marianne Wilson

The chief executive of Big Lots is out on medical leave.

The discounter announced that president and CEO David Campisi took medical leave after he was hospitalized on Friday, December 1st, shortly after the company’s third quarter earnings call. He is now recuperating at home.

In connection with Campisi’s temporary leave of absence, the company assigned his executive responsibilities to Lisa M. Bachmann, executive VP, chief merchandising & operating officer, and Timothy A. Johnson, executive VP, chief administrative & CFO, effective immediately. In addition, James R. Chambers, Big Lots non-executive chair of the board, intends to spend additional time at the company’s Columbus, Ohio headquarters with the leadership team during the duration of the medical leave.

“We have complete confidence in Lisa and TJ, and the rest of the leadership team at Big Lots to continue the company’s strategic initiatives. David Campisi is an inspirational leader, and we look forward to his return to good health and to leading the company again,” said Chambers.

Campesi has been CEO of Big Lots, which operates 1,430 stores in 47 states, since May 2013. The company on Friday reported better-than-expected third quarter earnings and raised its full-year forecast as its looks towards what it expects will be a successful holiday season.

 

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