Macy's on Tuesday announced the appointment of Michaels CEO Ashley Buchanan and Zipcar President Tracey Zhen to its board of directors.
Zhen has been at Zipcar for four years, and according to Macy's press release "oversees all facets" of the car-sharing business.
These executives join Macy's corporate structure in the midst of a turnaround effort that was interrupted by the pandemic.
This year Macy's CEO Jeff Gennette has sought to assure investors that the strategy, dubbed "Polaris," is working. In a statement Tuesday, he said that the new board hires will also further those plans.
"Ashley brings decades of experience in retail and a history of overseeing omnichannel transformations efforts at both Michaels and Walmart," he said. "We also look forward to leveraging Tracey's global consumer technology background and track record of fueling innovation and applying technology to deliver growth. Our board and overall organization will benefit from their fresh perspectives as we continue to advance our integration of innovative digital shopping and compelling stores to most effectively meet the needs of our current and future customers, from off-price to luxury."
Under Buchanan's leadership, Michaels has also embarked on a turnaround, helped along by the disappearance of one of its rivals when A.C. Moore left the retail scene a couple of years ago and the boom in arts and crafts during the height of the pandemic last year. Initiatives under his watch include revamped rewards system, a MichaelsPro program for makers and concept stores.
But the appointments don't further much more than ticking boxes by appointing executives with certain expertise, according to Mark Cohen, director of retail studies at Columbia University's Graduate School of Business.
"It's 'retail' and it's 'tech,'" he said of the latest additions. "The Macy's board has been notably absent for years in terms of their engagement and Macy's strategy. Nowhere is there anyone on that board who has a clue what their actual strategy has been, and they don't have a strategy. 'Polaris' is a catchy name that came from a consultant that means exactly nothing."
The addition of these two brings Macy's board slate to 12 members. Buchanan will serve on the board's audit committee and Zhen will serve on its nominating and corporate governance committee, per Macy's release.