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Finish Line names Hudson’s Bay exec as CIO

BY Mike Troy

Finish Line has hired a high power technology executive to make sure it avoids recent technology implementation challenges in the future while keeping pace with athletic footwear consumers’ desire for an omnichannel experience.

The company announced it named former Hudson’s Bay Company executive AJ Sutera to the role of executive VP, chief information and technology officer. Sutera will oversee Finish Line’s information and technology functions and digital operational solutions supporting the consumer experience. He will also drive the enterprise technology roadmap to support the company’s overall strategic business plan.

Prior to joining Finish Line, Sutera held several senior leadership roles within Hudson’s Bay Company from 2007 to 2016 in support of the department store retailer’s efforts to offer a seamless omnichannel customer experience. He also served as senior director of business solutions and technology at JetBlue Airways, senior director of business technology solutions at Liberty Travel/GOGO Worldwide Vacations in addition to CIO for GlobalWorks Group LLC and various management positions with Volvo North America and General Electric earlier in his career.

His hiring follows the release of third quarter results on Jan. 7 in which the company said its performance was severely impacted by a disruption in the supply chain following the implementation of a new warehouse and order management system. After same store sales declined 5.8% during the quarter ended Nov. 28, 2015, the company said 42 cents of a 49 cent a share loss was attributable to the supply chain issues caused by the botched technology implementation.

“AJ [Sutera] has a solid background of assessing, designing and implementing award-winning solutions that have propelled the overall consumer experience. His valued insight will help us further differentiate Finish Line in the marketplace,” said Melissa Greenwell, COO, Finish Line, which roughly 1,000 stores and branded departments inside Macy’s stores

Finish Line is now operating under the leadership of CEO Sam Sato who was elevated from his position as president in conjunction with the release of third quarter results. Former CEO Glenn Lyon now serve as non-executive chairman of the board, a change that took effect at year end. At the same time the disappointing third quarter result were release and the CEO change was made the company said it planned to shrink its store based by 25% or roughly 150 units over the next four years.

More details on the evolving Finish Line story are likely to emerge on March 24 when the company reports fourth quarter results and presumably offers guidance about the outlook for 2016 and the state of its supply chain.

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