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When Mark Tritton took the reins at Bed Bath & Beyond in October 2019, he knew he’d have to make some big changes.
The New Jersey-based company — known for its “bloated” floor-to-ceiling stacks of towels and sheets — was struggling. Sales slumped, inventory ballooned, and the share price was on a steep decline. “We were tracking badly and heading nowhere fast,” he said.
Tritton, a former Target executive, got to work. He dismissed the previous executive management team in December of that year and in early 2020 announced a vision to “reestablish Bed Bath & Beyond’s authority in the home space.”
Then, the coronavirus hit.
Tritton’s mandate to turn around the company — no small challenge in the best of times — became even more intense. “Our decision-making, our engagement, and our empowerment had to change overnight,” he said.
During the past year, Tritton brought in a new leadership team whom he calls “the Avengers of Retail,” and devised a strategy that involves shuttering over 200 underperforming stores, curating its product lineup, and launching an array of in-house brands.
Results so far are mixed. In its last fiscal quarter, the company said that while digital sales nearly doubled year-over-year, net sales fell 5%. The company’s share price is up about 60% year-to-date.
But Tritton, whose resume includes stints at Nike, Timberland, and Nordstrom, is undaunted. Insider recently spoke with him about his experience onboarding a new team via Zoom, how he’s earning the trust of his employees, and why he believes Bed Bath & Beyond will succeed in a post-pandemic world.
This interview was condensed and edited for clarity.
What was Bed Bath & Beyond’s culture before you arrived?
It was cloistered. It was a very top-down organization. A lot of centralized decisions at CEO level with a lot of command-and-control behavior.
Is that why you fired the previous executive leadership?
We needed something different. And the leadership team we had wasn’t going to be able to make the journey. It was a necessary move.
What about your new team — the so-called “Avengers of Retail.”
I had the ability to recruit from scratch not just great leaders but people who share the values that we put down on paper. They were briefed from Day One, “You’re not coming here just to lead. You’re coming here to coach. You’re coming here to create, to nurture, to nourish a community, a culture, an idea, and an execution of the strategy.”
Bed Bath & Beyond’s “Avengers of Retail”
Gustavo Arnal, Chief Financial Officer, formerly of Avon, Walgreens Boots Alliance, and Procter & Gamble, joined in May 2020
Cindy Davis, Chief Brand Officer, formerly of L Brands and Disney, joined in May 2020
John Hartmann, Chief Operating Officer, formerly of True Value Company, appointed in April 2020
Joe Hartsig, Chief Merchandising Officer, formerly of Walmart, Motorola, and SC Johnson, appointed in April 2020
Arlene Hong, Chief Legal Officer, formerly of Amazon and J. Crew, joined in May 2020
Lynda Markoe, Chief People & Culture Officer, formerly of J.Crew, joined in September 2020
Rafeh Masood, Chief Digital Officer, formerly …read more
Source:: Business Insider