Executive Changes: Walmart, Old Navy, JCPenney, Lane Bryant, Laura Ashley

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 Rosalind Brewer to Head Sam’s Club; Internal Promotions at Walmart

Bentonville, AR—Rosalind Brewer, who has been president of Walmart U.S.’ 1,600-store Eastern business unit, is being named to succeed Brian Cornell, president/ceo of Sam’s Club, who left his position for family reasons.

Brewer , 49, who previously was an executive at Kimberly-Clark Corp., is the first woman to be named chief executive of one of the Walmart’s three major business operations.

Sam’s Club, a membership-only warehouse club operated by Wal-Mart, has been posting steady comparable store sales, better than Walmart U.S.

Walmart also announced several other internal promotions, too. Rollin Ford was promoted to chief administrative officer. He had previously served as chief information officer. Gisel Ruiz was promoted to executive vice president and chief operating officer for Walmart U.S. She most recently served as executive vice president of people for Walmart U.S. Karenann Terrell will take over as chief information officer. She previously was Walmart’s assistant chief information officer.

“The promotions we are announcing today are clear evidence that our succession and management development programs work, and that we have highly talented, well-rounded and experienced business leaders ready to step into larger roles when the opportunities arise,”  Mike Duke, Walmart’c ceo, said in a statement.

Gap Inc. Searches for New Old Navy President

San Francisco—Gap Inc. said Thursday that it plans to appoint two veteran executives to head its Old Navy division after Tom Wyatt, Old Navy’s president, said he was leaving.

Wyatt, who led Old Navy since 2008, is leaving as of Feb. 3 to become chief executive.

While Gap Inc. conducts a search for a new president, Nancy Green, chief creative officer, and Tom Sands, executive vice president of stores and operations, will lead Old Navy in the interim.

The company said Green has more than 19 years of experience within Gap, having started as a merchandise trainee in 1986. Sands will take on additional operational functions within Old Navy. Sands has held senior operations roles within Gap, and prior to that at Target Corp.

Wyatt departure comes as Gap Inc. is trying to turnaround profit and comparable store sales at its U.S. stores. “This was probably one of the most difficult decisions I’ve had to make,” Wyatt said in a statement. “An opportunity came my way that allows me to devote myself to helping children get the education they deserve. Working with the strong leadership team at Old Navy, I’m both proud of what we’ve accomplished over the past four years and confident in the plans in place to improve the brand’s performance in 2012 and beyond.”

JCPenney Taps Another Apple Executive

Plano, TX—JCPenney reported this week that it hired Kristen Blum as executive vice president and chief technology officer, effective Jan. 23.

Previously, Blum was most recently senior vice president, chief information officer for Enterprise Transformation at PepsiCo. From 2006 to 2010, she was senior vice president, chief information officer at Abercrombie & Fitch. Prior to that, Blum spent four years at Apple, Inc. as director of supply chain solutions and international retail, overseeing technology supporting global operations and the development of systems supporting Apple retail. From 1999 to 2002, she was a senior manager at KPMG/Bearing Point, consulting for clients in the retail, consumer and high-tech industries. She has also held merchandising, planning and allocation roles at Planet Hollywood, Walt Disney and Victoria’s Secret.

Blum, who described JCPenney as “the most exciting place to be in retail today,” will report to Mike Kramer, the chief operating officer who also was once an Apple executive as was JCPenney’s new chief executive Ron Johnson.

“Having worked with her for many years, I have seen firsthand Kristen’s extraordinary ability to match strategic business objectives with technological solutions,” Kramer said.

Elizabeth Crystal Named Chief Marketing Officer at Lane Bryant

Bensalem, PA—Charming Shoppes, which operated Lane Bryant, announced this week that Elizabeth Crystal has joined Lane Bryant as senior vice president/chief marketing officer.

Crystal’s duties will include leading brand positioning, marketing, and advertising strategies for the Lane Bryant and Cacique brands, and to manage all creative, print, public relations and social media and to co-develop the in-store presentation across all formats.

Crystal’s career in brand and retail marketing spans nearly 20 years. Most recently she was senior vice president, worldwide marketing for Revlon and Almay Color Cosmetics. Prior to Revlon, she was vice president of trade marketing for Buena Vista Home Entertainment, a Walt Disney Company.

She reports directly to Brian Woolf, group president at Lane Bryant, Cacique, and Lane Bryant Outlet.

“Let me say how delighted I am to welcome Liz to Lane Bryant.” Woolf said. “She is an ideal choice to lead our overall brand and strategic marketing efforts, and will be an important addition to our leadership team. She brings a wealth of experience in marketing, advertising and brand positioning, and is a seasoned executive with the skills and experience to help drive marketing and brand strategy.”

Laura Ashley Inc. Appoints New President

Penne Cairoli

For Mill, SC–Laura Ashley, Inc. has named Penne Cairoli as president of the company, overseeing licensing and ecommerce operations for North and South America. She replaces current president, Ng Kwan Cheong, who has been named ceo of Laura Ashley Holdings PLC headquartered in London.

Cairoli has been with Laura Ashley since 1987, most recently as a vice president of licensing. Throughout her tenure at Laura Ashley, she has also held management positions in licensing, design, buying, product development and sales.

“Her longevity with the brand and industry experience will provide us with valuable direction as we continue to grow Laura Ashley’s business in North America and South America,” said Ng.