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Nike appoints new leader for its direct business

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Nike has promoted a company veteran to oversee all of the brand’s digital initiatives.

Heidi O’Neill has been named president of Nike Direct, effective immediately. This will be in addition to her current role as president of direct to consumer, where she oversees Nike’s physical retail stores and nike.com. She will report to Elliott Hill, president, consumer and marketplace.

In her new role, O’Neill will be responsible for all Nike digital products, services and member experiences, as well as “lead Nike Direct through the next transformative and digitally-led era,” Hill said.

O’Neill, a 20-year Nike veteran, has held senior management roles across the company, including her current role. She has also held positions of increasing responsibility, including VP of U.S. apparel; VP, general manager of global Nike women’s category, and VP, general manager of Nike stores globally. She began her career at Nike as a marketing director in apparel.

Prior to joining Nike, O’Neill held roles at Levi Strauss & Co., and Foote Cone & Belding in San Francisco. O’Neill is a founding board member of the Nike School Innovation Fund, a current member of the Board of Directors for Spotify, and is a former director of the Skullcandy Board of Directors.

Adam Sussman, previously Nike’s chief digital officer, also will assume an expanded role to become VP, general manager Nike Direct digital and geographies. Sussman will continue to oversee Nike digital and the consumer vision for digital products, experiences, services and capabilities across the marketplace, while taking on management responsibility of the four key Nike direct geographies. Sussman will report to O’Neill.

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Sprouts Farmers Market on the hunt for new CEO

BY Marianne Wilson

Fast-growing Sprouts Farmers Market is losing its chief executive.

The Phoenix-based natural and organic grocer said that Amin Maredia is stepping down as CEO on Dec. 30 “to pursue other interests.” Jim Nielsen, president and COO of Sprouts and Brad Lukow, CFO, will serve as co-interim CEOs until a permanent successor is named. The company is currently working with a executive search firm to find Maredia’s replacement.

Nielsen joined Sprouts in 2011 as COO and has served as president and chief operating officer since A 2015. Prior to that, he was president of Henry’s Farmers Markets. Lukow has served as Sprouts’ CFO since 2016, having previously served as executive VP and CFO of Shoppers Drug Mart.

The departing Maredia has served as CEO of Sprouts since August 2015. He joined the company in 2011 as CFO. Prior to that, Maredia held executive posts at Burger King Corp., including serving as VP of finance for North and Latin America from March 2009 to February 2011 and as VP of strategic planning and treasurer from July 2005 to March 2009.

“It has been an enormous privilege to have been part of the Sprouts team during this incredible period in the company’s history over the past eight years,” Maredia said in a statement. “As I transition, it is comforting knowing that Sprouts is well-positioned with a strong management team for robust growth and sustained success.”

Sprouts has been steadily expanding its portfolio. The grocer plans to open 30 stores in 2019, about the same as this year. The retailer currently more than 300 stores in 19 states.

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More changes at J.Jill

BY Marianne Wilson

J.Jill has begun the hunt for a new finance head.

The women’s apparel retailer announced that executive VP and CFO Dave Biese will leave the company on April 30, 2019. It’s the second big executive change for the company, whose CEO Paula Bennett retired in April. She was replaced by Linda Heasley, the former CEO of Lane Bryant

J.Jill has retained executive search firm Heidrick & Struggles to help it find a new CFO. No reason was given for the departure of Biese, who helped to take the company public in 2017.

“I would like to thank Dave for his commitment to J.Jill over his long tenure with the company,” said Heasley. “He was a key member of our executive team and played a pivotal role in building J.Jill into a prominent omnichannel retailer while leading our finance and operations teams.”

J.Jill operates more than 270 stores nationwide.

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