Updated! It’s been a busy summer for newly appointed president/CEO Robert Riesbeck, who has wasted no time filling key senior management positions.
Assuming Riesbeck’s former post as chief financial officer is Kevin Kovacs, a former KPMG tax manager who was promoted from VP/controller.
Riesbeck also promoted Sam Johnson, a former Sears Holdings merchandising and operations regional director, from stores senior VP to chief retail officer.
In his new role, Johnson will oversee real estate and visual merchandising in addition to his prior responsibilities for store operations, customer relations, the chain’s Fine Lines premium majap boutiques and commercial sales.
“As a result of the significant contributions Sam and Kevin have delivered in their time with hhgregg, we are excited to promote them to roles of greater responsibility,” Riesbeck noted. “Both will continue to perform as significant members of the senior leadership team.”
Riesbeck went outside the company to find his new chief information officer, choosing IT, software and e-commerce expert Tom Schuetz, a former Lord & Taylor VP.
Other key appointments include:
*Chris Sutton, promoted from VP to senior VP of marketing with responsibility for all traditional and digital marketing initiatives and e-commerce.
*Matt Phillips, named electronics merchandising senior VP. Phillips joined the company two weeks ago from Groupon, where he was divisional merchandising manager. (His major appliances counterpart, Andrew Terry, joined hhgregg one year ago from LG Electronics, where he was a sales director and national account manager.)
*Mabelle Lim, named home décor merchandising VP. Lim joined the company last month from Pier 1 Imports, where she was divisional merchandise manager.
“We have assembled a strong senior executive team that will build and maintain momentum to achieve our company’s growth and profitability goals,” Riesbeck said. “We are excited to have attracted talented leaders who will focus on revenue, margin and operational proficiencies.
“Of particular note,” he added, “are the new merchandising and marketing executives in roles of vital importance to our success. We look forward to the accomplishments this team will achieve.”
Riesbeck, who joined hhgregg in 2014 as chief financial officer, was named president/CEO earlier this month. He had served as interim chief executive since longtime CEO Dennis May’s departure in February.
The company appears to be making headway toward the new CEO’s growth and profitability goals, having stemmed the tide of widening losses and steepening sales declines by cutting costs and doubling down on appliances and furniture.
The appointments of Riesbeck and his retail cabinet mark the end of an era for the 60-year-old retail chain, as day-to-day operations have now formally passed from the late founding-family scion Jerry Throgmartin and his chief lieutenant Dennis May to a new generation of senior managers. Whether they can continue to right the ship or will change course from Throgmartin’s vision of a nationwide footprint remains to be seen.
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