After more than three decades at the helm of Dick's Sporting Goods, CEO Ed Stack is stepping down from the top role, and will stay on as executive chairman and chief merchant, according to a Tuesday press release.
President Lauren Hobart, who joined the sporting chain as chief marketing officer in 2011, will take over as president and CEO after a unanimous board vote to elect her. Both changes are effective Feb. 1, and the transition has been in the works for several years, the company said.
Stack's departure comes as the retailer posted another impressive quarter during the pandemic, with e-commerce sales growing 95%, a record 23.2% same-store sales rise and net sales increasing 22.9% to $2.4 billion.
It's the end of a decades-long era at Dick's Sporting Goods, which has been run by Stack since 1984. Under Stack, the company has grown to more than 850 stores and nearly $9 billion in annual revenue, and invested in its omnichannel strategy, including through logistics and technology.
He'll continue to oversee "key strategic growth initiatives," something that was crucial to the board when finding a successor, according to Lawrence Schorr, lead independent director of Dick's.
"This transition process has been in the works for several years with two primary objectives: Ed's continued involvement in key areas of the business; and a smooth transition of leadership to a capable and prepared new CEO," Schorr said in a statement. "Lauren is a valued and forward-thinking leader who has played a vital role in DICK'S success. She embodies all that DICK'S stands for, and the board is confident that Ed and Lauren will continue on this successful journey and drive long-term shareholder value."
Despite stepping away from the top role, Stack said on a conference call with analysts that he was as committed as ever to the company. "Our business is thriving and we have the best management team in the company's history, making this the perfect time for the transition," Stack said.
Hobart comes into the role with nearly ten years of experience at Dick's and over 25 in finance, consumer and retail. At Dick's, Hobart has revamped marketing and worked to enhance e-commerce, customer service and the omnichannel experience. GlobalData Managing Director Neil Saunders said Hobart has "a very strong track record so, in our view, Dick's will be very safe in her hands."
Although the transition was announced in the midst of a global health crisis, Hobart stressed on a conference call that the company was "in great shape" financially, while Stack said in a statement that investments had been paying off, which at least in Q3 is supported by strong operating results.
Net income in the quarter rose 208% to $177 million and operating income grew 439% to $246 million. The retailer has also had great success in e-commerce, which accounted for 21% of net sales, using its stores as fulfillment and sales channels. Hobart said in a statement that stores fulfilled 70% of the company's online sales and drove 90% of total sales growth in the quarter.
Looking ahead, executives are focused on the development of its private label brands, with plans to improve the amount of space dedicated to them in stores, increase marketing for them and expand into other categories. Stack also highlighted that the retailer has established 20 impact teams to accelerate its diversity and inclusion efforts in the wake of the racial justice protests this year.