November 2, 2022 – New York-based retail and consumer focused executive search firm Herbert Mines Associates has assisted in the recruitment of Jacqueline Ardrey as president and chief executive officer of NASDAQ-traded Vera Bradley Inc. She replaces retiring president and CEO Robert Wallstrom, who will work closely with Ms. Ardrey through December to ensure a smooth transition. “Jackie Ardrey is a highly accomplished retail executive who is a strategic leader, a talent builder, and an innovative thinker with a strong record of operational excellence,” said Robert Hall, chairman of the Vera Bradley board of directors. “On behalf of the entire board, I am thrilled to welcome her to the company. We are confident Jackie will be instrumental in developing the full potential of our two lifestyle brands, Vera Bradley and Pura Vida, and delivering consistent, sustainable growth and value to our stakeholders over the long term.”
“It has been my great honor to serve as president and CEO of the company over the last nine years, and it has been an incredible privilege to work with our highly talented, creative, and dedicated team of associates,” said Mr. Wallstrom. “We have driven innovation across both of our brands, built strong engagement with our associates and customers, and enhanced our purpose-driven mission. I am excited about the future of Vera Bradley Inc. and confident the company will thrive under Jackie’s leadership.”
Ms. Ardrey is an accomplished, results-oriented leader with over 25 years of experience in multi-channel retail enterprises. Since 2018, she has been president at home furnishings and seasonal décor catalog retailer Grandin Road, part of the Qurate Retail Group. Previously, Ms. Ardrey was CEO of Trading Company Holdings and senior vice president of merchandising and supply chain for omnichannel gourmet food and gifting brand Harry and David. Prior to that, she spent 14 years at multi-channel high-end children’s retailer Hanna Andersson in various roles of increasing responsibility, including senior vice president of merchandising, design, and wholesale. She began her retail career with the May Company.
“I have long admired Vera Bradley Inc. and believe both the Vera Bradley and Pura Vida brands have untapped potential in the marketplace,” said Ms. Ardrey. “I look forward to working closely with the talented leadership team and the board to build upon the company’s heritage, leverage its many opportunities, and drive long-term, profitable growth.”
Based in Fort Wayne, IN, Vera Bradley is a designer of women’s handbags, luggage and other travel items, fashion and home accessories, and unique gifts. Founded in 1982 by friends Barbara Bradley Baekgaard and Patricia R. Miller, the brand is known for its innovative designs, iconic patterns. Vera Bradley operates two unique lifestyle brands – Vera Bradley and Pura Vida, which are complementary businesses, both with devoted, emotionally-connected, and multi-generational female customer bases.
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Established in 1978, Herbert Mines is a specialist search firm focusing on the retail, fashion and apparel, beauty, consumer products and services, hospitality, leisure, restaurant, and digital/technology industries. The firm is noted for its C-suite recruiting work and has 3,600 searches. Brenda Malloy is the president of Herbert Mines. She brings over 40 years of experience to Herbert Mines Associates. During her career, she has authored numerous articles on retail CEO succession, omnichannel leadership, in addition to being a featured speaker at the National Retail Federation’s annual convention in New York City. Working with leading retailers at the senior most levels to assemble winning leadership teams, Ms. Malloy primarily recruits board directors, CEOs, and their direct reports for publicly traded, privately held and private equity backed companies spanning vertical specialty, lifestyle and branded retail, off-price/value, grocery, hardlines, mass, and the specialty department store sectors.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media