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Sur La Table CEO jumps to J.Crew

BY Marianne Wilson

J.Crew Group has appointed a retail veteran and former CEO to a key position in its struggling namesake division.

The retailer named Billy May as chief customer officer for the J.Crew brand, effective July 15, 2019. He will report to Michael J. Nicholson, interim CEO, and lead customer-facing aspects of the business and be responsible for advancing J.Crew’s digital transformation across marketing, loyalty, stores, and e-commerce.

May most recently served as CEO of Sur La Table, where he has served as CEO since August 2017. The kitchen goods retailer said that May was stepping down to pursue “a new opportunity” closer to family on the East Coast. Kevin Keough, managing director and head of post-acquisition at Investcorp, will take over May’s CEO responsibilities on an interim basis. (Investcorp acquired Sur La Table in 2011. Prior to that, he was senior VP and member of the executive leadership team at Abercrombie & Fitch, where he led marketing, direct-to-consumer, and corporate development globally.

Prior to Sur La Table, May was senior VP and member of the executive leadership team at Abercrombie & Fitch, where he led marketing, direct-to-consumer, and corporate development globally. He joins J. Crew as it continues efforts to turnaround its challenged iconic brand. J.Crew brand sales decreased 4% to $376.1 million in its most recent first quarter and same-store sales fell 1%. The retailer said it plans to “reignite the J.Crew Brand with new designs, assortments and brand expressions.” It will close about 20 locations in 2019, adding to the net closure of 34 stores last year.

“Billy’s significant industry experience across a range of well-known consumer brands, and his track record of innovative leadership in omnichannel marketing will elevate customer engagement across our digital, mobile, and store channels,” said Nicholson. “He brings a collaborative, integrated approach to brand development, and we are looking forward to partnering with him to return J.Crew to profitability and long-term growth.”

Prior to Abercrombie, May helped lead global digital and e-commerce at adidas Group, and held various leadership roles at Sears Holdings and Lowe’s Companies. He started his career as an executive trainee and buyer within the May Department Stores Company.

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