Nationwide Taps Toshiba's Hickman As CE Chief

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Winston-Salem N.C.  - Nationwide Marketing Group has hired Toshiba retail sales director Tom Hickman to head its CE business.

Hickman, who variously served as Toshiba's director of key, national and strategic accounts, joins the $14 billion buying group as CE senior VP.

He succeeds Mike Decker, who left the organization in January, and reports to executive VP Dave Bilas, the former GE Appliances sales exec who leads Nationwide's merchandising and marketing functions for CE and appliances.

Hickman joins a CE team that also includes merchandising VP Doug Schatz and Jeannette Howe, executive director of SEN, Nationwide's specialty electronics division.

"Nationwide's continued focus and growth in consumer electronics has required us to look for additional talent to help us take our members to the next level," said Nationwide president/CEO Robert Weisner. "We have worked with Tom over the years as a vendor-partner and were always impressed with his creativity, drive and results.  He's a perfect fit for our team."

Added executive VP/COO Les Kirk, "He knows the nationals, he knows independents and he clearly understands the dynamics of the industry's buying and marketing groups."

Bilas noted that Hickman was a member of the team that consolidated Toshiba's TV and PC divisions.  "As our industry continues to move toward the integration of HDTV, tablet devices and computers, his experience will help our members move beyond the industry's current baby boomer vision of the TV business toward an evolving gen-X and gen-Y mix of HDTV, tablet and computer marketing," he said. "These strategies will prepare them to compete more effectively with the likes of Apple in the changing marketplace."

Hickman said he has worked closely with Nationwide's members and leadership for years and "feels at home" with the group.

The appointment follows last month's acquisition of $2 billion Canadian buying group Cantrex from Sears Canada.

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