August 8, 2019 – Signal Partners, a Santa Monica, CA-based search firm serving private equity sponsors and their portfolio companies, has appointed Patricia Muise as a partner and leader of its retail and consumer practice.
“Pat’s superpower is helping PE sponsors and CEOs navigate the rapid innovation taking place in the consumer and retail sectors,” said Tim Smith, co-founder at Signal Partners. “She knows how to identify and recruit the talent required to drive innovation and help leading brands and retailers create new and powerful experiences for consumers. She is a recognized and trusted partner with a history of helping breakout companies.”
Ms. Muise has over 20 years of retained executive search experience specializing in CPG, direct-to-consumer, wholesale and retail sectors. She has recruited executives to Drybar, Dollar Shave Club, TOMS and Guitar Center, among others. Prior to Signal Partners, she was a senior client partner in the consumer practice of Korn Ferry International, based in Los Angeles.
Earlier in her career, Ms. Muise was an operating executive in the retail and hospitality sectors with Federated, Marriott and Universal Studios. She was also one of the founders of venture-backed specialty retailer, the Sweet Factory.
Signal Partners is a nationwide search firm addressing the talent needs of private equity-backed companies. The firm drives a custom, high velocity process for C-level and critical non-executive positions.
Challenges Facing the Retail Sector
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 the search consultants. Developed markets, excess retail capacity, rising prices, the shift to omnichannel retail and the unpredictable pace of change in consumer shopping habits all affect the type of leader that retailers need.
In addition, retail CEO turnover is accelerating. Herbert Mines reported that 58 percent of public retail companies with revenues exceeding $500 million and experienced a chief executive change the past five years. This represents 111 chief executive officer transitions.
“Retail is not dying but it is changing form,” Herbert Mines Associates chairman and CEO Hal Reiter noted in a recent report on the retail sector. “We are excited to see that many online retailers continue to open physical locations, expanding from a pure play model to an omnichannel play.”
Many digitally native companies recognize that brick and mortar locations are where customers can immerse in brand culture, and the in-store atmosphere has proven to be a key differentiator for brands to create lasting impressions and returning customers, Mr. Reiter said. “With traditional brands and digital-first retailers converging, the true omnichannel strategy will win. Despite the transformation retail and consumer has seen since 1978, we are proud of our ongoing commitment to quality and our role as partners and thought leaders within the space.”
“Today, leaders who possess strategic agility, raw intellect, business acumen, enterprise level leadership and digital acumen are in most high demand,” said Brenda Malloy, president of Herbert Mines Associates. “Furthermore, in today’s state of disruption, an ability to collaborate, to be flexible/nimble/agile and to have strong communication skills is of the utmost importance. Today’s environment requires those with conviction, vision and clarity to navigate through unchartered waters.”
“Retailers are re-thinking their leadership, understanding that with the convergence of channels (in-store, e-commerce, mobile) comes a convergence of roles and responsibilities,” she said. “As roles converge, hiring talent and/or creating new roles has become a complicated proposition.”
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Andrew W. Mitchell, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media