Movers & Shakers: Dollar General, Instacart, Belk Name New Top Execs

Welcome to Movers & Shakers, a roundup of the latest executive appointments and changes in the retail industry.
Dollar General sign

Dollar General Hires CMO in Health Care Push


Dollar General has appointed its first-ever chief medical officer as the discount retailer makes a push into the health care space.

Albert Wu, MD, has joined Dollar General as vice president, CMO. In this role, Wu will help develop Dollar General’s new health care services by establishing and strengthening relationships with current and prospective healthcare product and service providers to build a comprehensive network of affordable services for customers. Wu previously worked at McKinsey & Company since 2016, and he was also an anesthesiology resident.

His appointment is part of Dollar General’s larger expansion into health care services.

According to the company, 75% of the U.S. population lives within five miles of one of Dollar General’s more than 17,000 stores, representing unique access to underserved rural communities. To better serve communities as a health care destination, Dollar General is adding an increased assortment of cough and cold, dental, nutritional, medical, health aids and feminine hygiene products.

“At Dollar General, we are always looking for new ways to serve, and our customers have told us that they would like to see increased access to affordable healthcare products and services in their communities,” Todd Vasos, Dollar General’s CEO, said in a statement. “Our goal is to build and enhance affordable healthcare offerings for our customers, especially in the rural communities we serve.”

Dollar General also recently announced another major change to 10,000 stores that will see fresh produce added. The company, which saw huge growth during COVID-19, is also expanding its stores and hiring thousands of employees to keep up with demand.

Fidji Simo
Fidji Simo

Instacart Snags Facebook Veteran as New CEO


Grocery delivery services company Instacart has snagged consumer technology industry veteran Fidji Simo, 35, as its next CEO.

Simo, who hails from Facebook, has worked on several of social media platform’s innovations, including News Feed, Stories, Groups, Video, Marketplace, Gaming, News, Dating, Ads and more, Progressive Grocer reported. At Facebook, she was vice president and head of the Facebook app. She also founded Women in Product, a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering women in product management, advancing the careers of women in technology and advocating for equal representation in the workplace. She will take over the helm at Instacart on August 2. She previously joined Instacart’s board of directors in January.

"As we think about the future of food, we believe the way people eat and their relationship with food will fundamentally change over the next decade,” Simo said in a statement. “They'll expect a more convenient experience, the widest selection of food at their fingertips, faster delivery times, increased personalization, and more inspiration. Instacart has an opportunity to deliver all of that for customers, while also becoming an even stronger ally and growth accelerator for retailers and advertisers, and helping create economic opportunities for hundreds of thousands of shoppers.”

Instacart's founder and current CEO Apoorva Mehta will move into the role of executive chairman of the board of directors.

“Building Instacart over the last 10 years has been one of the most fulfilling experiences of my life,” Mehta said. “In my new role as Executive Chairman, I'll remain very engaged in the business on a day-to-day basis and will partner with Fidji on long-term and strategic moves that will shape the future of Instacart and our industry for years to come. And, I'll be able to do so knowing that with Fidji we have the right leader in place who has the experience we need to help make Instacart's vision a reality.”

See the full story at Progressive Grocer.


Belk store

Belk Appoints New CEO


Nir Patel has been named Belk’s new CEO as Lisa Harper steps down.

The CEO change, announced July 6, is among a handful of leadership shake ups for the department store chain. Harper, who joined as CEO in 2016, has transitioned to executive chair of Belk’s board of directors, Chain Store Age reported. Harper also previously served as CEO of teen retailer Hot Topic.

“I am extremely thankful to all of our associates and customers at Belk for making my last five years here so meaningful," Harper said. "To think that one of my very first jobs started at my local Belk store, and then my career allowed me to come full circle serving as the CEO, has truly been an honor. I look forward to watching how Belk will continue to transform the shopping experience for years to come."

Patel also joined Belk in 2016, most recently serving as president and chief merchandising officer. He previously served as a senior vice president with Kohl's, a VP at Land's End, and worked for Abercrombie & Fitch, Target  and Gap Inc. 

Belk also announced  that Don Hendricks will be promoted from COO  to president. Additionally, Chris Kolbe has been named executive vice president and chief merchandising officer. His background includes 30 years of experience, with senior leadership roles at Kohl's, Land's End, Original Penguin and Urban Outfitters.

See the full story at Chain Store Age.