Harvard Group Names Consumer and Retail Practice Leader

January 11, 2017 – Executive search firm Harvard Group International (HGI) has added Margaret Gramann to its search team as a managing director where she will lead the firm’s consumer and retail practices.

Ms. Gramann specializes in C-suite and board searches with specific expertise in general management, sales, and marketing roles. She has deep expertise in CPG (PepsiCo, Coca-Cola) and retail industries (Avon, Sears) with two decades of public and private company senior level general management and sales operations experience.

During her corporate career, Ms. Gramann was responsible for multibillion-dollar P&L’s across several industries. Launching her career in beverages, she held roles of increasing responsibility at Coke and Pepsi, including senior vice president and general manager of Pepsi’s Great West business unit. She segued into retail and was SVP of national sales and customer experience for Sears / Kmart then SVP of Sales for Pulte Group.

Most recently, Ms. Gramann was head of sales for Avon’s $1 billion flagship North America business. She has significant M&A knowledge given her experience leading and integrating multiple multimillion-dollar acquisitions. “Harvard Group gives me a great opportunity to leverage my corporate experience and entrepreneurial spirit while advising CEOs and their companies on how to source the right senior talent for their business,” said Ms. Gramann.

Harvard Group is a mid-size, full-service executive search firm that works in multiple industrial sectors in North America, Europe, and Asia. Since 1997, its Atlanta headquarters and Scottsdale, AZ office have led board, C-suite, senior executive and middle management search projects for a wide variety of companies ranging in size from Fortune 25 multinationals to start-up operations.


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According to recruiters specialized in finding retail sector leadership, retailers face major shifts in the workplace that require transformational CEOs who are innovative leaders with a world view. According to Herbert Mines Associates, 31 percent of incoming retail CEOs are, indeed, focused on international expansion as a key strategic priority, making that global mindset a competitive differentiator.

Evolution, Innovation and Disruption

As competition in the field intensifies for leaders of all stripes, retail CEO turnover is accelerating. According to Herbert Mines, in recent years, 47 percent of public retail companies with revenues exceeding $1 billion experienced a chief executive change (up from 34 percent during the previous three years). Since 2007, 71 percent of retail companies have experienced a switch in CEO.

“There is significant evolution, innovation and disruption in the consumer and retail markets right now and both are therefore poised as growth sectors for our industry,” said Harvard Group’s Ms. Gramann. “The consumer experience is at the heart of business success (or decline) – we need to delight them with what they want, what they need and what they (yet) don’t know they want and need. And we need to deliver an integrated experience so they have the agility to engage from home, at stores or mobile.”

Impacted by technology and digital engagement, the change of pace is fierce, she added, which translates into a high need for rigorous internal talent development and often external talent acquisition. “The opportunity in these sectors for executive search to provide insight, talent advisory and best-in-class candidates to clients suggests we’re on track for another strong year,” she noted.

Contributed by Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor, Hunt Scanlon Media

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