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Former Tesco exec to head up technology for Nordstrom

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Nordstrom has ended its “extensive search” for a new technology chief.

The department store retailer has named Edmond Mesrobian as chief technology officer. He succeeds Kumar Srinivasan, who left his position as Nordstrom’s CTO in January 2017. Srinivasan left Nordstrom after less than a year on the job to return home to India.

Mesrobian joins Nordstrom from U.K.-based supermarket giant Tesco, where he focused on strengthening the company’s technological capabilities and creating innovative solutions for its customers.
Prior to Tesco, he spearheaded operational and technical innovations as CTO of global travel company Expedia, including online travel brands, Expedia.com, Hotels.com, and Hotwire.com.

Mesrobian will support all aspects of technology across Nordstrom. He will focus on advancing the retailer’s suite of technology capabilities to meet the evolving needs of customers.

“After an extensive search, we are excited to have Edmond join our executive team as chief technology officer,” said Blake Nordstrom, co-president of Nordstrom. “Edmond is a seasoned technology expert, and has contributed to the growth of retail, high-tech and internet-based businesses for nearly three decades. As our industry and customers evolve, Edmond will help us continue to transform our business so we can deliver the best experience to our customers, however they choose to shop with us.”

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GNC rewards CEO with new title

BY David Salazar

Ken Martindale has been busy since he left the helm of Rite Aid to become CEO of GNC last September — and he just got an additional job at the specialty health-and-wellness retailer.

Martindale has been named chairman of GNC chairman, effective immediately. He succeeds Bob Moran, who will become GNC’s lead independent director.

Martindale’s appointment to the board comes as part of an ongoing transaction with Chinese Pharmaceutical company Harbin Pharmaceutical Group (Hayao), through which the two companies will form a joint venture to bring GNC-branded products to Chinese consumers.

As part of the joint venture, the company is receiving a roughly $300 million investment from the Hayao — a 40% stake that will make it GNC’s single largest shareholder once the transaction closes. In addition to Martindale joining the board as chairman, the transaction will involve the board expanding to include five members from GNC and five members from Hayao.

“Ken has demonstrated exceptional leadership and strategic insight in his role as CEO, and the board looks forward to continuing to benefit from his insight and expertise as he assumes the role of chairman,” Moran said. “We are confident that under Ken’s continued leadership we will be even better positioned to effectively implement our strategic plans and drive shareholder value.”

Since Martindale took the helm, the company also has focused on streamlining its portfolio, including the closure of 200 American and Canadian stores this year, an effort the retailer announced in April alongside its earnings and a plan to curb its store openings in 2018.

“I am honored to take on this new role as we accelerate our efforts to reposition GNC to drive growth, improve our financial strength and performance and enhance shareholder value,” Martindale said. “We continue to expect the transaction with Harbin Pharmaceutical Group to close later this year, and I look forward to working with the rest of the board as we execute our strategy to build on the strength of the GNC brand, leverage our capabilities in product and service innovation, expand our international presence and deliver a compelling, integrated customer experience.”

The companies have said they expect the Hayao deal to close in the latter half of 2018.

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New presidents named for Loft, Ann Taylor

BY Marianne Wilson

Ascena Retail Group has promoted insiders to presidents of the brands in its premium fashion segments.

The apparel retail giant named Andrew Clarke as president of its Loft brand. Since 2017, he has held the role of executive VP, chief merchandising officer at ascena’s Justice brand.

Prior to Justice, Clark was president of Kmart apparel for Sears Holdings Corp. He began his career at Marks and Spencer PLC.

In addition, Julie Rosen was tapped as president of the Ann Taylor and Lou & Grey brands. Since 2016, she held the role of senior VP, general merchandise manager at ascena’s Ann Taylor brand. In early 2018, her role was expanded to include the Lou & Grey brand.

Rosen started her career at Gap’s Banana Republic and was named VP of women’s merchandising in 2000 and senior VP in 2001. In 2007, Rosen founded Julie B. Rosen Consulting. She rejoined GAP Inc. as senior VP of merchandising for Banana Republic in 2009.

“Julie and Andrew are strong leaders, who are committed to both their customer and teams, and I am confident that they will serve these amazing brands well,” said Gary Muto, president and CEO, ascena Brands

Ascena operates e-commerce websites and approximately 4,700 stores throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. It offers apparel, shoes, and accessories for women under the Premium Fashion segment (Ann Taylor, Loft, and Lou & Grey), Value Fashion segment (maurices and dressbarn), Plus Fashion segment (Lane Bryant, Catherines and Cacique), and for tween girls under the Kids Fashion segment (Justice).

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