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Circuit City Streamlines Its Management

Circuit City has streamlined its organizational chart by creating new reporting lines to chairman/CEO Alan McCollough and recently named president Phil Schoonover, and has filled three key merchandising, store-level and logistics holes in its executive lineup.

Under the new structure, McCollough has four direct reports: Schoonover; executive VP/chief financial officer Michael Foss; global sourcing chairman Brian Levy; and human resources senior/VP Eric Jones.

Functions re- porting to Schoonover include merchandising and marketing, retail stores, supply chain/inventory management, new concept development, strategy and innovation, and e-commerce.

Functions reporting to Foss include accounting, financial planning and analysis, corporate communications, management information systems (MIS), procurement, real estate and legal.

Levy — who also continues to serve as CEO of InterTAN, Circuit City’s Canadian subsidiary — and Jones will both maintain their current direct reports.

In addition, senior VP/merchandising Douglas Moore was promoted to senior VP/chief merchandising officer, filling the vacancy left by Schoonover following his appointment to president last month. Assuming many of the responsibilities of John Froman, who leaves his post as COO, are George Clark, promoted to president/retail stores, and Best Buy veteran Ronald Cuthbertson, who joins the company as senior VP/supply chain and inventory management. All three report to Schoonover.

“The change in reporting structure provides for better accountability and streamlines the organization as we continue to build a new Circuit City,” said McCollough. “With the recent changes in the management team, it was appropriate to rethink how the company operates and [to] improve the overall efficiency of the organization.”

The restructuring follows an unsolicited $3.25 billion acquisition offer from Boston hedge fund Highfields Capital Management LP, which holds a 6.8 percent stake in Circuit City and is critical of its current management. (TWICE, Feb. 21, p. 1.) The retailer has hired Goldman Sachs to help it weigh the bid and consider all its options.

New merchandising head Moore joined the No. 2 CE chain 15 years ago as a regional manager and has held various sales, merchandising and operations positions, including president of the company’s Western Division.

Clark, who is responsible for all domestic store operations and product services, has held various district and regional management posts since joining Circuit in 1983, including eastern division president. “His deep background in operating stores combined with his recent experience in merchandising [as technology GMM] provides the company with better coordination between store operations and merchandising as we continue to improve the shopping experience,” Schoonover said.

Cuthbertson spent the past five years at Best Buy variously as enterprise VP; VP/Best Buy International and global sourcing; and executive VP/merchandising, marketing and supply chain for Best Buy Canada. Schoonover said his appointment underscores the company’s increased focus on supply chain performance and capital utilization through improved in-stocks, reduced net-owned inventory, increased inventory turnover and better return on closeouts.