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Throgmartin Leaving hhgregg COO Post

INDIANAPOLIS – Gregg Throgmartin is stepping down as executive VP and COO of hhgregg, effective March 31.

Separately the chain has named Kevin Lyons from VP to senior VP of e-commerce.

Throgmartin, son of the chain’s late chairman Jerry Throgmartin and scion of the founding Gregg and Throgmartin families, is leaving the company and his seat on the board to pursue outside interests and manage family businesses, the retailer said.

“I want to thank hhgregg for everything the company has meant to both my life and career,” Throgmartin said in a statement. “I believe that the company is in great hands and that the strategic initiatives the company is embarking on will continue to make the company prosperous. I wish the company the best in its future endeavors.”

The 228-store chain had pursued an aggressive expansion strategy initiated by his father, but its growth has stalled in recent years amid the economic downturn and changing competitive landscape. During its third fiscal quarter, ended Dec. 31, hhgregg’s net income fell 71 percent to $5 million, net sales declined 11.6 percent to $707 million, and comp-store sales decreased 11.2 percent.

In a statement, president/CEO Dennis May said: “I would like to thank Gregg for his leadership and many contributions to hhgregg over the past 13 years. Gregg has been an instrumental member of our leadership team and helped support the growth of the company’s store base as we work toward becoming a national retailer.”

hhgregg’s board said it will begin a search for a new COO and that other operations officers will pick up Throgmartin’s duties on an interim basis.

Lyons, who heads the chain’s web efforts, is now senior VP of e-commerce. A veteran of Sears and Best Buy, Lyons joined hhgregg last May and has since lead the creation of what the company described as “an ambitious online development and promotional strategy” that has produced double-digit growth in sales and conversions.

The online initiatives include improved website navigation, positive social-media engagement among key customer groups, and integrated online and in-store marketing, the chain said.