Dollar General Corporation on Wednesday announced that Carman Wenkoff will join the company as executive vice president and chief information officer, effective July 10.
Wenkoff, who has worked in IT and as an attorney, replaces current CIO Ryan Boone, who recently announced his retirement, according to a company press release. He brings a broad range of experience, having implemented digital strategies and payment and loyalty solutions at the retail level, the company said.
He most recently served as CIO and chief digital officer for Subway restaurants, where his IT team created a digital marketing platform and point-of-sale system. Before that, he was part of the IT and management team at Subway’s franchisee-owned Independent Purchasing Cooperative and served as chairman of the Retail Gift Card Association. Additionally, he’s held senior IT positions with several tech firms. He began his law career at Pivotal Corporation and has served as vice president of operations/finance and general counsel for Ontain Corporation.
Dollar General, given its position as a discount player with especially thin margins and stiff competition, is doing relatively well, says GlobalData Retail Managing Director Neil Saunders, though he also noted softness in the dollar retailer's first quarter results.
“[I]t is clear that Dollar General in particular, and dollar stores in general, are suffering from a slight loss of momentum,” he said in a note emailed to Retail Dive. “This does not mean the format is falling out of favor or that there isn't scope for future expansion, but it does mean that growth is now harder to attain.”
The retailer currently aims to boost its e-commerce business, and Wenkoff's hiring is key to that, Dollar General CEO Todd Vasos said in a statement Wednesday.
“I am excited to have someone with Carman’s experience and digital expertise to be joining our team to lead this important part of the business,” he said. “We continue to focus on enhancing our digital presence and meeting our customers when and how they decide to engage with us. I’m confident with Carman’s vision we will continue to strengthen these efforts as well as leveraging technology to improve our processes, lower costs and drive a better customer experience.”
An increasing number of companies, including retailers, are appointing executives to oversee the digital transformation of their business, according to the results of a new study emailed to Retail Dive from PwC’s strategy consulting unit, Strategy&. The 19% of the world’s top 2,500 companies doing so is more than triple last year’s percentage, when only 6% of companies that PwC analyzed had hired such an executive. Moreover, 60% of the digital leaders identified in PwC's most recent study have only been hired within the last two years.
“One of the most daunting challenges for any digital leader is how to develop new digital applications at the same time as they’re dealing with legacy IT systems that have been vital to a company’s operation for years,” Mathias Herzog, Strategy& co-author and partner with PwC US, said in a statement emailed to Retail Dive. “As this becomes more and more apparent, we should continue to see a growing number of executives with the technical expertise necessary to navigate a company’s multi-faceted digital assets.”