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Vitamin Shoppe names CEO

BY Marianne Wilson

An executive from a luxury chocolate brand has been tapped to lead a retailer that specializes in nutritional products.

Vitamin Shoppe announced that it has appointed Sharon M. Leite as CEO, effective August 27, 2018. She will also become a member of the board. Most recently, Leite served as president of Godiva Chocolatier in North America, a position she has held since October 2017.

Vitamin Shoppe has been on the hunt for a new CEO since February, when it announced that CEO Colin Watts would leave the company “by mutual agreement.” His departure followed the chain’s disappointing performance in 2017, with sales down nearly 12%.

Prior to Godiva, Leite was the president of Sally Beauty, U.S. and Canada, an international specialty retailer and distributor of professional beauty products with over 3,000 stores. She also spent close to a decade at Pier 1 Imports, with her last position in 2016 as executive VP of sales, customer experience, & real estate.

Earlier in her career, Leite held various executive leadership roles at Bath and Body Works as well as various sales and operations positions with other retailers including Gap Inc., The Walt Disney Company and Express.

“On behalf of the Board of Directors, we are excited to have such a talented executive as our new CEO. Sharon’s broad experience and impressive track record makes her an ideal choice to lead both our turnaround and future growth,” said Vitamin Shoppe chairman Alex Smith.

The Vitamin Shoppe conducts business through more than 775 company-operated retail stores under The Vitamin Shoppe and Super Supplements retail banners, and through its website.

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Another former J.C. Penney exec joins Lowe’s

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Lowe’s Companies has named a new leader to oversee store performance across its many divisions.

The home improvement giant on Friday named Joseph M. McFarland III as executive VP, stores, effective Aug. 15. In this role, McFarland will oversee the north, south and west divisions, Orchard Supply Hardware, pro and services businesses, operations engineering, and asset protection for the organization.

McFarland will report to Marvin R. Ellison, president and CEO. Ellison just took the helm at Lowe’s on July 2, replacing Robert A. Niblock, who previously announced his intention to retire. Previously, Ellison was chairman and CEO of J.C. Penney, where he has been working to turnaround the chain to mixed results.

“Joe is a strategic, results-oriented retail executive who excels at achieving operational excellence, financial management and brand positioning to deliver top and bottom line results,” said Ellison. “Importantly, he is an exceptional leader with a proven record of driving sales and implementing omnichannel initiatives on a large scale. We are excited for Joe to join the Lowe’s team, and look forward to benefiting from his valuable experience and leadership.”

Most recently, McFarland served as executive VP and chief customer officer at J.C. Penney, alongside Ellison. During his tenure, he oversaw the company’s stores, operations and merchandise strategies.

Prior to that, McFarland spent 22 years at The Home Depot. During this tenure, he held various roles, including serving as president of the northern and western divisions from 2007 to 2015. Here, he led the largest sales volume division in the company, producing $36 billion in annual revenue and record profits.

Before taking on the division president roles, McFarland served as regional VP, NY metro region, from 2005 to 2007. Here, he managed all aspects of store operations and merchandising and led the region to two consecutive years as the top performing region in the company.

He also served as district manager of The Home Depot from October 1999 to March 2003. McFarland began his career with The Home Depot as an electrical sales associate in southern California. He held various store positions, including department supervisor; assistant store manager; store manager and district manager.

“I have long admired Lowe’s and the dedicated associates who serve customers in a competitive omnichannel environment,” said McFarland. “I look forward to working closely with Marvin and Lowe’s outstanding associates as we optimize store operations, further the company’s omnichannel strategy and drive enhanced customer experiences.”

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Walmart names new exec for healthcare business

BY David Salazar

Walmart has a new leader in charge of health and wellness.

Walmart has named Sean Slovenski as senior VP of health and wellness for Walmart U.S., effective Aug. 1, according to a company memo from Walmart U.S. CEO Greg Foran.

In his new role, Slovenski will work to implement the company’s plan to put more focus on the health and wellness business in the near term, with the goal of making health care more affordable and accessible. Most recently, Slovenski was president of Healthways’ population health division.

“Sean is a proven leader and entrepreneur with an established track record in defining and building businesses within the healthcare industry,” Foran said. “I am delighted to bring such an experienced executive on board to lead a critical area of our business.”

Reporting to Slovenski will be:

  • Paul Beahm, senior VP of health and wellness operations;
  • Cory Gundberg, senior VP of health and wellness – lead in pharmacy;
  • Sandy Ryan, VP of clinics and quality;
  • Luke Kleyn, VP of payer relations;
  • Marcus Osborne, VP of health and wellness transformation;
  • Jinali Desai, VP and DMM of Rx merchandising; and
  • Mony Iyer, VP of optical, who is set to join the company July 23.

In addition to his time at Healthways, Slovenski previously was CEO of Care Innovations, an Intel-GE joint venture, as well as vice president of innovation at Humana.

Marybeth Hays, who currently oversees the retailer’s health and wellness business, is engaged in the transition and will be sharing more details of her next position at a later date, Foran said. Latriece Watkins will continue leading the company’s consumables portfolio, reporting to chief merchandising officer Steve Bratspies.

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