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Shakeup at Rue21 as CEO departs and successor named

BY Marianne Wilson

There’s been a change in leadership at Rue21.

Laurie Van Brunt has resigned as president and CEO of the teen apparel retailer after less than six months on the job. The company described her departure as “a mutual decision.” Van Brunt took the top spot at Rue21 in June, coming from Chico’s FAS, where she was president of Soma Intimates from 2010 to 2017.

Succeeding Van Brunt at Rue 21 as CEO is company chairman Michael C. Appel. Interestingly, Appel served as interim CEO of the retailer from October 2017 until June 2018, when Van Brunt took the reins.

“The Board of Directors of rue21 has asked Michael Appel to re-assume the senior leadership of the company as chief executive officer on a permanent basis,” the company stated. “Our decision is based on the progress made under Michael’s leadership as Interim CEO, his successful recruitment of senior leadership, and retaining key management.”

Headquartered just north of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Rue21 currently operates 752 stores in 45 states.

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Victoria’s Secret CEO resigns

BY Marianne Wilson

Victoria’s Secret just can’t catch a break.

Jan Singer has resigned as CEO of the women’s intimate apparel brand, according to numerous media reports. Singer took the reins of Victoria’s Secret in fall 2016. Prior to that, she served as CEO of Spanx, from 2014 to 2016, and in corporate VP positions at Nike from 2004 to 2014.

Singer’s resignation comes as the former powerhouse struggles with declining sales amid heavy competition from such brands as Aerie and Rihanna’s Savage x Fenty line along with rising online players like ThirdLove. Victoria’s Secret’s overtly sexy image has come under fire for being tone deaf in today’s #metoo era, and the brand has also been called out for its lack of inclusivity and diversity.

Last week, Ed Razek, chief marketing officer of Victoria’s Secret parent company L Brands, came under heavy criticism for indicating that plus-size models and trans models have no place in Victoria’s Secret’s annual runway show. He later issued an apology.

L Brands has not yet announced a replacement for the departing Singer.

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Albert Heijn exec to head up Ahold Delhaize USA’s Peapod brand

BY David Salazar

Ahold Delhaize USA has tapped a company veteran as Peapod’s new president.

The company has appointed Selma Postma brand president, effective Jan. 1, 2019. Most recently, Postma was the general manager of Albert Heijn online.

“We’re extremely pleased to have Selma to serve at the helm of Peapod,” said JJ Fleeman, chief e-commerce officer and president of Peapod Digital Labs. “Selma has a proven track record of building an omnichannel experience at Albert Heijn, where she accelerated online growth to more than 20 percent annually and launched several customer-facing solutions, such as the popular mobile app, Appie, single sign-on with bol.com, the largest online, non-food retailer in the Netherlands, and much more. We are confident her expertise will accelerate the e-commerce experience for Peapod customers and continue to grow sales.”

Postma has spent nearly 20 years at Albert Heihn, Ahold Delhaize’s largest grocer in the Netherlands. During her time managing its online strategy, she optimized the chain’s website and created custom features, including voice assistants and subscription services. Her tenure saw online sales grow more than 20% annually, the company said.

“I’m very excited to join Peapod, which has a great 30-year heritage in e-commerce to build upon as we look to future growth,” said Postma. “I look forward to working with the team that has built this strong brand, along with Peapod Digital Labs and the great local U.S. brands of Ahold Delhaize, to continue to accelerate sales and deliver a world-class consumer experience.”

Postma will relocate to Chicago with her husband and three children, the company said.

“I’m very excited to see Selma take up this important role at Peapod, one of our great local brands and the leading U.S. online grocer, as we are stepping up efforts to further accelerate U.S. e-commerce growth,” said Ahold Delhaize president and CEO Frans Muller. “Her deep knowledge of food retail and online expertise make Selma the right person to lead Peapod into the next phase. Selma’s appointment is a testimonial to the deep talent pool within Ahold Delhaize and it shows how we can share best practices and knowledge across the group.”

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