UPDATE: July 8, 2020: Crate and Barrel on Tuesday named Janet Hayes CEO, succeeding Neela Montgomery, effective Aug. 1.
Hayes previously held positions at Williams-Sonoma, both at the namesake brand where she led a turnaround of the San Francisco business as president and at Pottery Barn Kids and Teen as president. Hayes also previously held positions at Nike, Gap and Macy’s.
"Janet not only comes with a great understanding of the U.S. customer in the home category with deep product knowledge and a passion for the shopping experience, but she is also a thoughtful and inspiring leader," Sergio Bucher, Otto Group executive board member and chairman of the supervisory board of Crate and Barrel, said in a statement. "She will help us strengthen the position of Crate and Barrel as a design-led, lifestyle company in the market."
Crate and Barrel CEO Neela Montgomery will step down from her role on Aug. 1 "to pursue new opportunities," the company announced on Wednesday.
The retailer said in a press release that Montgomery informed the board late last year of her decision, and her successor will be named "shortly."
- Montgomery stepped into the role in the summer of 2017. Prior to that she served as a member of the executive board of the Otto Group, the parent company of Crate and Barrel, where she led the group's multi-channel retail strategy.
After serving at the helm of Crate and Barrel for three years, Montgomery is stepping down, the third CEO at the company to do so in the past six years.
"It has been a pleasure to lead these amazing brands at Crate and CB2," Montgomery said in a statement. "We have accelerated their strategic and operational capabilities as a digitally-forward, innovative retailer now positioned for the future."
Montgomery is hailed for seamlessly integrating the retailer's online and offline channels. Speaking at the National Retail Federation's Big Show earlier this year, she said 51% of the retailer's 2019 holiday sales, across its three brands, were made online. This came as Montgomery revealed the retailer halted TV ad spots for the first time last holiday season and instead shifted its focus to social channels, like Instagram, and digital marketing. And that shift to digital has only grown in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced consumers to shop online as nonessential retail temporarily closed.
On a webinar hosted by NRF in May, Montgomery said that although much remains uncertain, the retailer doesn't anticipate the split between online and offline to revert back to levels they were at prior to the pandemic.
"How much of it is moving back into stores as they reopen? A lot, but not all," she said. "What we don't know is if it's a 10% shift, is it ... going to be 60% online, 40% in the stores? Or is it 70/30? I think that's something we don't know. I think what we for sure know is it's not 50/50 anymore."
During her tenure, the retailer also launched a new concept, The Table at Crate, last July and quickly announced plans to expand the restaurant to additional stores. The company in its release also praised her efforts in leading the expansion of the CB2 brand and acquiring home decor brand Hudson Grace last year.