May 17, 2018 – 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, according to search consultants. 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 that retailers now need. New York-based executive recruiter Herbert Mines Associates recently placed retail industry veteran Ronald Boire as the new president and CEO of Art Van Furniture. He succeeds Kim Yost, who announced his retirement earlier this year after nine years with the company.
“Ron is a tremendous addition to the Art Van family,” said Mr. Yost. “He is a charismatic and dynamic leader, who has an innate passion for the customer and shares our love for product and for sales. He also brings war stories from many other sectors of retail, which will be invaluable as Art Van continues to transform the business into the leading all-home omni-channel retailer in the U.S.”
Jeff Swenson, managing director of private equity firm Thomas H. Lee Partners, said he and his team are thrilled with Mr. Boire’s decision to join Art Van. “His deep expertise in retail management and extensive experience leading transformational and omni-channel strategies focused on delivering best-in-class customer experiences – both online and in stores – will be incredibly valuable as we build on a long and storied history of growth for the Art Van, Levin, and Wolf brands,” said Mr. Swenson.
Mr. Boire brings more than 35 years of experience in the retail industry to his new job. He has served in senior executive positions, including president and CEO roles, at a wide variety of retail and consumer electronics companies, such as Barnes & Noble, Sony Electronics, Best Buy, Toys R Us, Brookstone and Sears Canada. Most recently, he was a principal at the Upland Group, an advisory firm specializing in the development, leadership and execution of transformational strategies for retail and consumer product companies.
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Art Van Furniture is a furniture and mattress retailer with 185 stores in nine states operating under the following brands: Art Van Furniture, Art Van PureSleep, Art Van Flooring, Scott Shuptrine Interiors, Levin Furniture, Wolf Furniture and Gardiner Wolf Furniture. Founded in 1959, the company is headquartered in Warren, MI.
Herbert Mines is a specialist search boutique focusing on the retail, luxury, consumer products, hospitality & food service, fashion / apparel and e-commerce industries. The firm is noted for its C-level recruiting work, placing presidents, chief operating officers and CEOs at a number of branded retailers, including Fred’s, Neiman Marcus, Payless ShoeSource, Ulta Beauty, Mama Rosa’s Pizza, Oregon Ice Cream Co., Fender, Black Diamond and Bare Snacks, among dozens of others.
Recently, Herbert Mines recruited Hal Lawton as the president of Cincinnati-based retail giant Macy’s. As president, he is responsible for all aspects of the Macy’s brand, including merchandising, marketing, stores, operations, technology, and consumer insights and analytics. Mr. Lawton has strong technology and digital expertise and was most recently senior vice president, eBay North America.
Korn Ferry Recruits CEO for J. Crew
Korn Ferry assisted apparel retailer J. Crew in placing James Brett as its CEO. A leader with more than 25 years of retail experience, Mr. Brett most recently served as president of specialty home furnishing company West Elm, a member of the Williams-Sonoma Inc. portfolio.
Challenges Facing the Retail Sector
According to Herbert Mines, 31 percent of incoming retail CEOs are focused on international expansion as a key strategic priority, making that global mindset a competitive differentiator when searching for new leaders.
Retail CEO turnover is accelerating. Herbert Mines reported that 47 percent of public retail companies with revenues exceeding $1 billion experienced a chief executive change the past five years (up from 34 percent during the previous three years). Since 2007, 71 percent of retail companies have experienced a switch in CEO.
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