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Executives on the move — CEO shakeups at Overstock, Papa John’s and Sur La Table

Sharon Gillenwater

OverstockAs the third quarter nears its end, a handful of companies are shaking things up — big time.

Overstock has replaced its eccentric founder and CEO, in a story with no small amount of drama. Papa John’s is bringing in new blood at the pizza chain in the wake of some serious PR issues over the past year. And Sur La Table is going all in on digital, with a new CEO who has a strong track record with some of the largest online retailers in the world.

Here are your latest executives on the move…

High drama in the C-suite at Overstock
E-commerce giant Overstock has lost its founder and CEO, in a dramatic story that involves an affair with a Russian agent and a double life as a confidential informant to the FBI. Patrick Byrne, by all accounts an eccentric CEO, made public claims that he was involved in the investigation into Russian interference in U.S. elections and, as part of that, was having a romantic relationship with a woman convicted as a Russian agent, while acting as a confidential informant to the FBI. In the wake of those comments, shares of Overstock plummeted 39% — this as the company continues to struggle against competitors Wayfair and Amazon. Byrne has since stepped down from his role, and 17-year Overstock veteran Jonathan Johnson III has stepped in as interim CEO. ­­­­­­The two men know each other well — Byrne donated $850,000 to Johnson’s campaign for governor — and in a statement, Johnson defended the state of the company, and Byrne himself. “He’s certainly not trying to jump ship. He's the kind of guy who would go down with the ship, were the ship going down. And it's not.”

A new “papa” at Papa John’s
It’s been a tumultuous year at Papa John’s since the founder and face of the company, John Schnatter, suffered a Paula Deen-like fall from grace when news broke that he’d used a racial slur on a conference call. Schnatter stepped down from his role as chairman as a result, but, as the company’s largest shareholder, he hasn’t stepped away. Now, Schnatter is championing Papa John’s latest decision to appoint Arby’s president Robert Lynch as CEO, replacing Steven Ritchie, who has held the role since 2018. “While I still have many reservations about the actions of the board of directors and their ability to fix this business, the decision to terminate Steve Ritchie is a step in the right direction,” Schnatter told CNBC. Lynch led a successful turnaround at Arby’s, and shares of the pizza chain jumped 5% after the news broke he would be joining Papa John’s. Analysts are also optimistic, with eight of the nine that cover Papa John’s rating it a “buy”.  

Sur La Table is embracing tech with new CEO
The culinary retailer lost its CEO Billy May in June, when May took a job as chief customer officer at J.Crew. Then, the search began for a new leader. Sur La Table has found that in Jason Goldberger, who joins the company from Blue Nile, the largest online seller of diamond jewelry in the world. Goldberger comes to the job with a wealth of digital retail experience. In addition to his work with Blue Nile, he served as chief digital officer and president of Target.com, where he led the company’s digital strategy and platform creation efforts. He’s also worked for Gilt Groupe, an online flash sale site, HayNeedle.com and Amazon. Board member Kevin Keough called it a “proven track record of driving digital transformations and implementing competitive market strategies,” and that’s exactly what the company was looking for as Sur La Table invests more heavily in its omnichannel offering and prepares to launch an enhanced digital platform.

More executives on the move…

  • David Abelman has stepped down as EVP, Marketing, Rite Aid Corporation.
  • Louis Alterman has stepped down as CFO, Rackspace US, Inc.
  • Shaun Andrews is now EVP and CMO, CenturyLink, Inc.
  • Koby Avital has stepped down as EVP, Engineering, Fitbit, Inc.
  • Nina Barton is now Chief Growth Officer, Kraft Heinz Company.
  • Gerard Brossard has stepped down as EVP and General Manager, Rackspace Solutions and Services, Rackspace US, Inc.
  • Gaurav Chand is now EVP and CMO, Cognizant Technology Solutions Corporation.
  • Benjamin Cook is now COO, Calyx Peak Companies.
  • Madelaine Daianu is now manager, Data Science, Facebook, Inc.
  • Toby Everett is now Director, Technology Transition and Acceleration, BP Global.
  • Charles Fedalen is now president and CFO, Irvine Company, LLC.
  • Eric Foss has stepped down as Chairman, President and CEO, ARAMARK Corporation.
  • Larry Godec is now SVP and CIO, First American Financial Corporation.
  • Julie Hamilton is now Chief Commercial Officer, Diageo plc.
  • Tara Harrison is now Head, Corporate Affairs, BP Global.
  • Brian Heller is now Director, Finance, Forge and Security, Autodesk, Inc.
  • Dennis Hernandez has stepped down as VP, Corporate Functions Technology and Technology Operations, SYSCO Corporation.
  • Mark Husnick is now CEO, Plus Consulting LLC.
  • Scott Kirkland is now Senior Director, Digital Marketing and Branding, Virtual Instruments.
  • Michael Kobayashi is now President, Operations and Technology, Ross Stores, Inc.
  • Kenneth Kota is now VP, Strategy and Business Development, Lockheed Martin Corporation.
  • Rudy Landram is now VP, Transportation, Nordstrom Inc.
  • Ted Lane is now SVP, NTTDATA Services, NTT Data Corporation, Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation.
  • David Law is now EVP, Wholesale North America, PVH Corp.
  • Richard McPhail is now EVP and CFO, Home Depot, Inc.
  • Dirk Montgomery is now SVP, CFO and Treasurer, Fiesta Restaurant Group.
  • Ray O'Farrell is now EVP, VMware, Inc., Dell Technologies Inc.
  • William Ordemann has stepped down as EVP, Strategy Development and Implementation, Enterprise GP Holdings L.P., Enterprise Products Partners LP.
  • Christine Pambianchi is now EVP and Chief Human Resources Officer, Verizon Communications Inc.
  • Charles Phillips is now Chairman, Infor, Inc.
  • Vanessa Robinson is now SVP, Commercial, Adidas AG.
  • David Rudzinsky has stepped down as SVP and CIO, Hologic, Inc.
  • Michael Scarpelli is now CFO, Snowflake Computing Inc.
  • Ali Shadman has stepped down as Digital Transformation Lead, Workplace and Mobility, DXC Technology.
  • David Smoley is now CIO, AstraZeneca PLC.
  • Soma Somasundaram is now president, Products and CTO, Infor, Inc.
  • John Standley has stepped down as CEO, Rite Aid Corporation.
  • Lara Sweet is now Chief People Officer, Snap Inc.
  • Robert Vizza is now Director, Product Management, Capital One Financial Corporation.
  • John Whelen is now the EVP and Chief Development Officer, Enbridge Inc.
  • Raymond Wirta has stepped down from his role as president, Irvine Company, LLC.
  • Elwin Wong is now Group VP and Chief Information Security Officer, Ross Stores, Inc.
  • Vern Yu is now president and COO, Enbridge Inc.
  • Michael Zechmeister is now CFO, C.H. Robinson Worldwide, Inc.
Each executive featured here has an in-depth profile available on the Boardroom Insiders platform. Want access? Click here to learn more

 

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Sharon Gillenwater
Written by Sharon Gillenwater
Sharon Gillenwater is the founder and editor-in-chief of Boardroom Insiders, which maintains an extensive database of the most in-depth executive profiles on the market, from Fortune 500 companies to independent non-profits, to help sales and marketing professionals build deeper relationships and close more deals with clients. Gillenwater is a long-time marketing consultant with expertise in marketing strategy, account-based marketing, and CXO engagement programs.
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