With a new year come new executive hires. Given the sheer number of notable CEO departures in 2019, 2020 is likely to progress with a few announcements on who's taking over some of those top roles.
Some brands already had someone lined up, or finally filled a role that had been vacant for some time. For those executives, which include the likes of Nike's John Donahoe, Under Armour's Patrik Frisk and Bed Bath & Beyond's Mark Tritton, the focus is on examining, rearranging and potentially building out the C-suite.
Tritton took the helm at Bed Bath & Beyond in November and cleaned out the C-suite a month later, leaving roles filled in the interim, but long-term replacements pending. Frisk, in his first couple of months leading Under Armour, announced two internal changes, which included his replacement as chief operating officer and the introduction of a new role, chief experience officer.
The executive shuffling won't stop there, but the first couple of months have notably brought a wave of announcements about one particular position: marketing. It's a role that is constantly evolving and is also crucial to how consumers view a given company — something that's as important for popular, legacy brands as it is for struggling ones.
Below we've broken down the key details of some of those appointments and departures.
In late January, several reports broke that Gap's chief marketing officer, Alega O'Hare, had left the company after less than a year as head of the brand's marketing efforts. Gap confirmed the departure to Retail Dive on Jan. 24.
"Alegra is no longer with Gap, we thank her for her time with the brand and wish her the best. As we look ahead, we will be redefining the role of the Chief Marketing Officer," a Gap spokesperson said in a statement.
It's not clear what exactly Gap has in mind in terms of "redefining" the role, which could mean a number of things. The news of O'Hare's departure came just a couple of months after the departure of CEO Art Peck, and since then Gap Inc. has also done an about-face on its decision to spin off Old Navy.
Lululemon named Nike veteran Nikki Neuburger its first chief brand officer on Jan. 8, effective Jan. 20. Neuburger spent 14 years at Nike, most recently as global vice president of Nike Running, and oversaw the direction of the Nike Membership division, which could hint at Lululemon's own ambitions in loyalty.
Her responsibilities include "elevating" the Lululemon brand, and leading marketing, creative, communications and sustainability "to drive the company's global brand and storytelling initiatives." She will report directly to CEO Calvin McDonald and join the athletics brand's senior leadership team. In addition to her time at Nike, Neuburger most recently spent two years as global head of marketing for Uber Eats.
"Nikki is an innovative marketing leader with a proven track record of building and scaling global brands, making her the ideal person to become lululemon's first Chief Brand Officer," McDonald said in a statement. "Her years of experience in the athletic industry, paired with her deep expertise in digital marketing, consumer insights and brand creative, will be instrumental as we build upon our momentum and deliver on our Power of Three growth strategy."
On Jan. 8, Lowe's announced that Marisa Thalberg would join the home improvement retailer as executive vice president, chief brand and marketing officer, effective Feb. 10. Thalberg, who will report directly to CEO Marvin Ellison, most recently served as global chief brand officer at Taco Bell. She also has experience at Estée Lauder, Unilever Cosmetics International, Sure Fit Inc., and Revlon.
In a statement, Ellison highlighted Thalberg's "extensive experience in building culturally resonant brands and delivering business value through marketing innovation and fresh thinking to inspire and engage customers."
Thalberg succeeds Jocelyn Wong, who stepped in as marketing chief in 2017 and recently resigned to pursue other interests, according to a Lowe's spokesperson.
Tailored Brands on Feb. 10 announced its new chief marketing officer, Carolyn Pollock, who will be in charge of marketing at all of the company's brands, including Men's Wearhouse, Jos. A. Bank, Moores Clothing for Men and K&G. Pollock will report to the company's chief customer officer, Carrie Ask, according to a company press release.
The appointment comes at a time when casualization is forcing the company to make a more compelling case for its heavily formal apparel brands, with finances struggling as a result. Just this January, Tailored Brands sold off the Joseph Abboud brand to help pay down debt.
Prior to working with Tailored Brands, Pollock held marketing roles at eBay, Dolby, Facebook and One Kings Lane, among others. She has also been in a consulting role with Tailored Brands since mid-2018, according to the release, and has worked on developing brand strategies for Men's Wearhouse and Jos. A. Bank. More recently, she entirely took over marketing for Jos. A. Bank.
"She has been instrumental in shaping Jos. A. Bank's marketing strategy from both a creative and channel perspective," Ask said in a statement. "Under Carolyn's leadership, the brand has seen growth in new customer acquisition, including the important younger generations, and significant increases in e-commerce and store traffic."
In early February, Calvin Klein brought on two top marketing execs on an interim basis. Greg Stogdon was hired as the company's acting chief brand officer and J.D. Ostrow as acting chief marketing officer, Women's Wear Daily reported. A Calvin Klein spokesperson confirmed the appointments to Retail Dive.
Both hires come from Frosty Pop, a design company based out of Vancouver Island and New York City, and both have prior experience at high-end brands. Prior to his role at Frosty Pop, Stogdon was senior vice president of creative at Burberry, while Ostrow was previously the chief marketing officer at Theory.
On Jan. 16, FabFitFun named its first chief marketing officer, Louisa Wee, effective that month. Wee was most recently the vice president of marketing strategy and analysis, and programmatic media buying at Netflix. She also has experience at early-stage internet businesses like eHarmony and Spin Media, and has worked as a management consultant and investment banker at the likes of McKinsey & Company, Goldman Sachs, Deloitte and PwC.
At FabFitFun, Wee is in charge of brand, content and creative programming, along with the strategy and execution of the company's global marketing initiatives. Co-founder and co-CEO Michael Broukhim pointed to her two decades of experience at "some of the world's most well-known and respected brands" as a win for FabFitFun.
"Her unique background crosses business intelligence, marketing strategy and customer acquisition, and brings new depth to our marketing bench," he said in a statement.