November 28, 2017 – CarterBaldwin Executive Search has placed Girisha Chandraraj as president and chief executive officer of Elite Sportswear, a sport specialty apparel brand. He succeeds Dan Casciano who stepped down but remains on the company’s board of directors. Dave Sobocinski, a founding partner of CarterBaldwin, headed the assignment.
“Girisha is a perfect fit for Elite Sportswear,” said Mr. Casciano. “He brings a wealth of experience to our growing categories and has the capability to facilitate both top and bottom line growth objectives.”
Mr. Chandraraj has over 15 years of consumer product leadership experience. Most recently, he was executive partner with Salt Creek Capital and before that was CEO of Marbles; The Brain Store. His prior roles include SVP of marketing and chief digital officer at Essendant and chief operating officer of CPO Commerce. He also held various roles with Blick Art Materials and Broder Brothers Corp.
“I am thrilled to be a part of a global leader who continually focuses on the highest standards in performance and quality,” said Mr. Casciano. “The team is passionate about their commitment to our sports and I am looking forward to pushing the limits of the company’s potential.”
Elite Sportswear is the combination of the worlds’ leading sports specialty apparel brands including GK Gymnastics, UA Gymnastics, Dreamlight Gymnastics, GK Cheer, UA Sideline Cheer, Omni Cheer, Twisted Choreography and Dolfin Swimwear. Distributed in over 35 countries, the company’s products have been worn by Olympic athletes and world champions for over 35 years.
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CarterBaldwin is a provider of executive search services in the healthcare, technology, non-profit, consumer services, industrial and media/telecom sectors. Its client list includes a number of name brand institutions, such as KPMG, ADP, Teradata, First Data, Duke University, Pepperdine University, New York Life, Fleet Pride and Berkshire Hathaway.
Mr. Sobocinski’s practice includes asset-intensive businesses that have a foundation of significant operational variables. These companies are often roll-ups, turnarounds and/or high growth operations. Many are manufacturing, distribution and commercial service entities that require a change in leadership. A large number of Mr. Sobocinski’s clients are private equity-backed businesses that are assembling new leadership teams.
According to Korn Ferry, retailers are facing major shifts in their businesses that call for “unprecedented responses” by CEOs who can effectively lead through change, intuitively and analytically understand the evolving consumer and respond to ambiguity. Developed markets, excess retail capacity, rising prices, the shift to omni-channel retail and the unpredictable pace of change in consumer shopping habits all affect the type of leader retailers now need, said Korn Ferry.
Transformational chief executives are regarded as innovative leaders with a world view. And they are clearly in high demand. Herbert Mines Associates, a recruitment firm that specializes in the retail and consumer areas, recently reported that 31 percent of incoming retail CEOs consider international expansion a key strategic priority, making that global mindset a competitive differentiator. Many of the search firm’s short lists now include executives with this background.
In recent years, 47 percent of public retail companies with revenues exceeding $1 billion underwent a chief executive change (up from 34 percent during the previous three years). During the past 10 years, 71 percent of retail companies have experienced a switch in CEO. That’s good news for recruiters mining the space for search work.
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Sonia Prais, a partner in the retail, beauty & lifestyle practice group at Ward Howell International, acknowledged that retail is undergoing a challenging period. “However, those who move nimbly, truly listen to their customers, learn how to respond on a ‘real-time’ basis to their needs, give outstanding customer service, and truly offer a highly efficient and workable omni-channel experience that entertains their customers will prevail and thrive,” she said.
“E-commerce has delivered and will continue to deliver as promised, and stores that have over-saturated with ‘bricks and mortar’ will adjust,” Ms. Prais said. “Customers still want to visit actual stores but that option must be offered in conjunction with the most up-to-date technology, whether in the store, on a mobile device, in an office, or at home. The retailers who will win and thrive will be those who can offer a seamless shopping experience. Clients are hiring for e-commerce, mobile development and roles that enhance customer experience and enjoyment. That’s where we see big opportunities ahead for talent.”
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Will Schatz, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media