Women to Watch

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Women to Watch

By Mike Troy - 03/16/2017

The retail industry is not where it should be when it comes to diversity. No research reports or statistics are needed to make that claim. The lack of diversity is apparent from a glance around hotel ballrooms or convention centers where senior executives gather for industry events.

While there is no disputing that further progress is needed, especially when it comes to the C-suite, it is also important to recognize that there are many remarkable female executives having a tremendous impact on business results. That is why Retail Leader decided to highlight a select group of women, some well-known but others less so, who are making a difference at their respective organizations and throughout the industry.

As we developed our list of Women to Watch we also felt it was important to think broadly about what it means to be part of the "retail industry." From our perspective, the retail industry is comprised of three main segments. There are retailers, obviously, but also consumer goods companies and service providers who support retailers and suppliers in a wide range of ways.

In the pages that follow, 10 executives from each of those segments are featured for their leadership journey and accomplishments, but also for the future contributions they are expected to make.

Laura Ipsen, SVP and General Manager, Oracle Marketing Cloud

Oracle turned to Laura Ipsen last August when it needed a top flight executive to lead its growing digital marketing platform relied on by retailers and suppliers. As head of the Oracle Marketing Cloud Ipsen is responsible for sales, account management, marketing, and customer support and services for an industry leading solution companies use to connect data, orchestrate experiences, and optimize interactions for individual customers. Prior to her current role, Ipsen was SVP of Oracle's industry solutions group, leading a team of industry and technology experts that built and enabled solutions across Oracle's top growth industries. Prior to Oracle Ipsen, served as corporate vice president of Microsoft's worldwide public sector organization. Prior to Microsoft, Ipsen was SVP and general manager of connected energy networks at Cisco.

Jill Standish, Senior Managing Director, Accenture

When it comes to business strategy and transformative efforts, Jill Standish is the person to see at Accenture. Last April, Standish was called on to head Accenture's Retail practice and focus on the business strategy and ongoing development and execution of retail industry strategy for clients. As a recognized leader in the industry, Standish oversees Accenture's extensive capabilities to guide growth and capability development as well as manage the retail industry client portfolio, with a focus on driving business transformation for clients. Before joining Accenture, one of the leading professional services companies, Standish served as SVP and General Manager for the retail business unit at Oracle and prior to that was global leader for IBM's Global Business Services retail consulting practice. The consistent theme throughout her career has been to help top global retailers with digital and store transformation projects.

Julie Gerdes, Vice President of Product Management, Quotient

Digital is the hottest sector of the marketing world and Quotient is one of the hottest companies in the space thanks to the efforts of Julie Gerdes. As Vice President of Product Management at Quotient, formerly Coupons.com, she's been instrumental in planning and executing product strategy for Quotient's product portfolio, including its consumer, retail and data products such as the consumer savings destination and app, Coupons.com. Quotient works with more than 700 CPG companies and retailers to provide digital coupons and media solutions informed by mobile, online data and combined with in-store purchase data. Gerdes has also played a key role in the development and rollout of Quotient Retailer iQ, which powers the loyalty programs for many leading retailers across the country. It often connects into a retailer's point-of-sale system allowing access to real-time purchase data to inform marketers' decisions and effectively target consumers with custom promotions.

Barb Renner, Vice Chairman and U.S. Consumer Products Leader, Deloitte

Tasked to lead Deloitte's U.S. Consumer practice two years ago, Barb Renner oversees an organization of more than 3,600 professionals that serves more than 90 percent of Fortune 500 consumer products companies. Her role entails driving key sector initiatives that include research and strategies to help clients advance innovation, talent development and global operations. She also serves as an adviser to senior management of Deloitte's leading clients, which makes sense considering she has nearly three decades of experience serving large multinational clients in a variety of leadership roles. That experience comes in handy as Renner is helping Deloitte's CPG clients navigate new market complexities such as an influx of competition and shifting consumer preferences to develop strategies for profitable growth. She works directly with consumer, retail and industrial product clients on regulatory, supply chain, technology and processing issues.

Linda Kirkpatrick, EVP Market Development, Mastercard

It's been quite a journey for Linda Kirkpatrick at Mastercard. In her current role, she is responsible for U.S. business development, merchant and acquirer relationships and pricing for Mastercard, which she describes as a technology company in the global payments industry. Kirkpatrick joined Mastercard in 1997 and since then she's held positions of increasing responsibility. Prior to her current role she helped create the investor relations function ahead of the company's 2006 initial public stock offering while serving as chief of staff to the chief financial officer. She also served as SVP of Core Merchants where she was responsible for the largest U.S. merchants in the retail, drug and grocery, fuel, travel and restaurant verticals. She also previously served as group head of Franchise Development where she drove global rules and standards, compliance programs, data integrity and dispute resolution management functions and she also led Business Administration and Communications for the U.S.

Jill Dyché, Vice President of Best Practices, SAS

Any conversation about growing sales inevitably turns to information technology and analytics, a field in which SAS is highly regarded. As VP of Best Practices at SAS, Jill Dyché (pronounced Duh-Shay) occupies a unique role overseeing a group of business and technology thought leaders who conduct research and engage in deep thinking to help SAS clients solve their thorniest technology issues and enable future value creation. Dyché joined SAS in 2011 when the company she founded, Baseline Consulting, was acquired. She is the definition of a thought leader having authored four books on various IT topics including; eData and The CRM Handbook. She co-authored Customer Data Integration and her most recent book is, The New IT: How Technology Leaders are Enabling Business Strategy in the Digital Age. Published in 2015, The New IT presents new questions, models and answers for business and technology professionals charting the future of their IT organizations.

Katherine Black, Principal Retail and Consumer Strategy, KPMG

Roughly one year ago Katherine Black joined KPMG to leverage her impressive finance and analytics background to help the firm's clients transform their businesses. As a KPMG principal, she leads efforts to help retailers and consumer goods companies develop and deploy actionable strategies based on unique insights and solutions designed to better serve customers. Black is well-versed in analytics and the power of data to drive results. Prior to joining KPMG, she ran her own firm and also spent roughly a decade with dunnhumby serving the U.K. and Ireland divisions of Tesco. Prior to that, she was with dunnbumby's U.S. arm helping Macy's for several years and prior to that was on dunnhumby's Kroger days during the early days of the relationship. Black also knows finance, having spent time with Fifth Third Bank, Capital One and Wachovia earlier in her career.

Louise Keely, Executive Vice President and Global Practice Leader, Nielsen

When it comes to helping retail businesses find growth opportunities and gain a deep understanding of key industry drivers, Louise Keely is showing the way. She leads Nielsen's global retail strategy and her work is advancing the company's connected retail vision of extreme collaboration among industry partners who rely on a rich network of data sources, technology and analytics to meet evolving consumer demands. With a PhD in economics, she helped found and serves on the board of the Demand Institute, a think tank operated by Nielsen and The Conference Board. She joined Nielsen's Cambridge Group division in 2005 and prior to that she was a faculty member of the Department of Economics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison as well as a research fellow in economics at Oxford University and at the Brookings Institution.

Kim Fitzsimmons, U.S. Market President, Chase Merchant Services

Payments industry veteran Kim Fitzsimmons joined Chase Merchant Services in October 2014 and ever since has been focused on driving all client delivery activity for the U.S. market including marketing, relationship management and sales for an organization that is one of the leading providers of payment, fraud and data security. The fin-tech world is undergoing significant change and Fitzsimmons has been involved in much of it. Prior to Chase, she served as CEO of Cynergy Data and prior to that she held several leadership positions at First Data, including President of Independent Sales and General Manager of Merchant Services and Community Banks. She also was Principle and Co-founder of EFS Card Services and currently serves as president of the Electronic Transaction Association.

Lori Mitchell-Keller, EVP and Global General Manager of Consumer Industries, SAP

Companies in the retail, consumer products, wholesale and life sciences industries who need help digitally transforming their business have a friend in Lori Mitchell-Keller. As Global General Manager of Consumer Industries since Sept. 2105, Mitchell-Keller has helped leading companies from every region of the world leverage technology to chart a path of growth in their markets. She joined SAP in 2007 as an SVP of business suite applications and has played key roles throughout the organization, including from 2012 to 2015 when she oversaw development of SAP solutions for retail as head of the Retail Industry Business. With an MBA from the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University and a master's degree in operations research from Stanford University, Mitchell-Keller also serves on the board of the National Retail Federation and is the executive sponsor of SAP's Consumer Industries Business Women's Network.

Denise Morrison, President and CEO, Campbell Soup Company

Denise Morrison may be nearing the end of a CPG career spanning four decades, including the past six as CEO of Campbell Soup Company, but she is still focused on the future. Morrison is managing what is arguably her toughest career challenge to drive near term sales and profit improvements in a challenging market while positioning Campbell for long term success in a world of rapidly evolving shopper behaviors, product preferences and distribution channels. To do so, Morrison is looking beyond the typical five year planning horizon and focusing on opportunities driven by the intersection of real food, health and well-being and technology. These forces are evident in key initiatives at Campbell far different that when Morrison began her CPG career in 1975 with Procter & Gamble. She held positions of increasing responsibility at PepsiCo, Nestle USA, Kraft and Nabisco before joining Campbell in 2003.

Amanda Sourry, President, Foods, Unilever

Earning an MBA in modern and medieval languages might seem an odd foundation from which to launch a successful career in the CPG world, but that is what Amanda Sourry did. She joined Unilever in 1985, held positions of increasing responsibility during a nearly 30-year career, including 17 years in the U.S., and was called on to lead the global company's food business in 2015. In that role, Sourry heads a $15.5 billion division that accounts for about 24 percent of Unilever's 2016 annual sales of roughly $65 billion. On her watch, the food business has delivered an improved performance. However, Sourry has concerns in addition to volume growth. Unilever's scale means Sourry spends much of her time thinking about the company's role in a global food industry facing the challenge of providing nutritious and sustainable food for a global population expected to total 8.5 billion by 2030.

Stephanie Gallo, Vice President of Marketing, E. & J. Gallo Winery

Innovative new products fuel growth in the retail world and on that front the E. & J. Gallo Winery doesn't disappoint its retail partners or their mutual customers. As Vice President of Marketing for the world's largest family owned winery, Stephanie Gallo leads worldwide marketing efforts for prominent brands in the company's Popular Business Unit, including Barefoot and Gallo Family Vineyards. Under her leadership the Barefoot brand has grown from roughly 500,000 cases sold annually when it was acquired in 2005 to become the largest bottled wine brand in the world. She also plays an integral role in the development of new products, including successful brand launches such as Naked Grape, Vin Vault and Dark Horse. Gallo is carrying on the tradition of innovation and stewardship that her grandfather and great uncle established more than 80 years ago when they founded the company. For example, she has pioneered the winery's online advertising, social media programs and event marketing initiatives.

Talbott Roche, President and CEO, Blackhawk Network

Leading prepaid and payments network provider Blackhawk Network is a global payments innovator in the fin-tech world. In her role as president and CEO she oversees Blackhawk's aggressive growth strategy and expanding product and solution portfolio and directs all Blackhawk consumer and incentive business units. Roche earned an economics degree from Stanford and spent time at Clorox and News America Marketing before joining Blackhawk as an SVP in 2005 when the company was still a division of Safeway. She became president in 2010, Blackhawk was spun out of Safeway via a public stock offering in 2013 and Roche was named CEO in February 2016. In the past five years, Roche helped Blackhawk triple its business from a gift card network in one grocery chain to a global prepaid and payments company that has expanded its scale and reach via nine multinational acquisitions.

Michele Buck, President and CEO, Hershey

Michele Buck joined an elite group of female executives on March 1 when she succeeded J.P. Bilbrey as Hershey's CEO. Now she is intent on accelerating growth at the $7.4 billion company through investments in new products and related marketing plans executed by a recently restructured senior leadership team. Buck expects Hershey to outpace growth of the broader food group in what remains a challenging environment. It became apparent in recent years that Buck would succeed Bilbrey as she advanced from her role as Hershey's president of North America to become EVP and COO last year with added global responsibilities. She joined Hershey in 2005, and held roles such as chief growth officer and chief global marketing officer. Prior to Hershey, Buck spent 17 years at Kraft/Nabisco in numerous senior positions and at the Frito-Lay division of PepsiCo.

Linda Wells, Chief Creative Officer, Revlon

Mass market retailers who offer Revlon's expansive product lineup will notice some changes this year as Linda Wells assumed the role of chief creative officer in February. Wells is an icon in the beauty world where she was the founding editor-in-chief of Allure and spent 25 years with the brand. She is responsible for curating the look and feel of Revlon's brands across all consumer touch points including advertising, product innovation, packaging, digital and social presence, and point of sale. Her addition follows Revlon's September 2016 acquisition of Elizabeth Arden, which created a $3 billion beauty company. That deal led to a more recent introduction of a new organizational structure focused on four global brand teams including Revlon, Elizabeth Arden, Fragrances and Portfolio Brands. Wells works with the marketing, product development, and research and development teams to support the brands' strategic growth priorities.

Angela Aman, CFO, Brixmor Property Group

Suppliers to the retail industry take many forms and that is the case with Brixmor. Nearly three fourths of its 512 shopping centers are anchored supermarkets, with Kroger, Publix and Dollar Tree among the top tenants. Since joining Brixmor in May 2016 Aman has been busy remediating material weaknesses in financial reporting that forced the departure of her predecessor and Brixmor's CEO. The company's books are now in order and a commitment to transparency and disclosure has Brixmor back in the good graces of investors and regulators. Aman joined the company from Starwood, where she served as CFO for less than a year, but prior to that she served four years with Retail Properties of America and helped the company go public. She began her career in the investment banking group at Deutsche Bank after earning an economics degree from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Mary Lynn Ferguson-McHugh, Group President, Global Family Care and Global Brand Creation and Innovation, P&G Ventures, Procter & Gamble

Three decades after joining P&G, Ferguson-McHugh leads one of the most important business units at the world's largest consumer goods company. With billion brands such as Charmin, Puffs and Bounty under her purview, Ferguson-McHugh plays a key role in a P&G organizational structure that has the company focused on 10 product categories including about 65 mega-brands. She leverages a vast range of experiences in brand building, innovation and consumer insight to find new sources of growth in mature categories subject to intense competition. It is a familiar role for Ferguson-McHugh, having previously held the position before serving as Group President for Europe from 2010 to 2014. She joined P&G in 1986 after earning an MBA at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School, initially serving as an assistant brand manager for Vicks NyQuil.

Susan Hart, Global Retail Practice Leader, Spencer Stuart

Susan Hart may not fit the retail industry's classic definition of "supplier," but she has been a supplier of talent to the retail and consumer goods industry for nearly three decades. As co-leader of Spencer Stuart's global retail, apparel and luxury goods practices, Hart is who top companies turn to when it is time to fill key senior leadership positions. She specializes in the recruitment of CEOs and board directors within the consumer and retail sectors. In a 29 year career at Spencer Stuart she has completed more than 800 executive and board searches globally for top consumer, fashion and luxury, mass retail and specialty lifestyle brands. She works with clients to identify, assess and recruit senior executives and board directors, manage succession projects and advise on governance matters so that organizations are prepared for their future leadership needs.

Esi Eggleston Bracey, President, Coty Consumer Beauty

When Coty acquired Procter & Gamble's beauty business last year it gained more than a roster of brands, which enabled it to double in size and become the world's third largest beauty company. It also gained the expertise of Esi Eggleston Bracy who previously led P&G's COVERGIRL and Max Factor businesses in 80 markets. She now oversees Coty Consumer Beauty, the largest of three business segments, accounting for nearly half of the company's annual sales of $9 billion. Her appointment to the role was announced in November 2015 after Coty and P&G agreed to the deal in July of that year. However, the transaction didn't close until last October which means Bracy's impact on the combined organization and its portfolio of mass market staples such as Clairol, COVERGIRL, Max Factor, Rimmel, Sally Hansen and Wella will be felt this year.

Angela Ahrendts, Senior Vice President, Retail, Apple

Apple set the benchmark for store experience more than a decade ago and now Angela Ahrendts is focused on setting a new standard for others to emulate. She oversees a network of nearly 500 Apple stores, as well as the company's next-generation store initiative, with newly redesigned locations launching all over the world. Since joining Apple in 2014, she has integrated Apple's physical and digital retail businesses to create a seamless customer experience for over a billion visitors per year with the goal of educating, inspiring, entertaining and enriching communities. She has helped Apple employees set the standard for customer service in stores and online, delivering support from highly trained Geniuses and expert advice from Creative Pros to help customers get the most out of their Apple products. Ahrendts joined Apple from Burberry.

Hanneke Faber, Chief E-Commerce and Innovation Officer, Ahold Delhaize

Hanneke Faber is the personalization guru. Her focus on customization underpins plans at Ahold Delhaize to double e-commerce revenues by 2020. Faber has been leading the global online business and customer loyalty initiatives at Ahold by leveraging personalized shopping with food lists, coupons and even personal health dashboards. Her efforts are producing double-digit sales growth at Peapod, the oldest and largest online grocer in the United States. Last year Faber oversaw the launch of Peapod's Local Farm Boxes program, which delivers fresh produce weekly from local farmers, similar to a Community Supported Agriculture farm share. Before joining Ahold in 2013, Faber was vice president and general manager of Global Pantene, Head & Shoulders and Herbal Essences at Procter & Gamble. She began her career at Procter & Gamble in 1992.

Ann-Marie Campbell, Executive Vice President, U.S. Stores, The Home Depot

Ann-Marie Campbell knows Home Depot inside and out. From humble beginnings as a cashier in South Florida in 1985 to her current role leading a 2,000 store operation with nearly 400,000 employees, Campbell is a major force helping the $95 billion retailer execute its omnichannel growth strategy. Named EVP of U.S. Stores a little over a year ago, Campbell has been entrusted to make sure stores, e-commerce and distribution centers are seamlessly integrated to keep customers happy and sales growing. The strategy has been working as U.S. same store sales rose 6.2 percent in the most recent fiscal year. One of the more remarkable aspects of Campbell's career is the native of Jamaica rose to the top of one of the most masculine of retail segments and she is also one of the nation's most senior African-American retail executives regardless of gender.

Carmen Bauza, EVP CMO at HSN

Carmen Bauza joined HSN last November as chief merchant and expectations are high with her diverse background that she will be able to ignite new growth at the $3.6 billion retailer. Before HSN, Bauza spent a decade at Walmart as a senior merchandising executive signing celebrity deals and driving collaborations across several categories including baby consumables, OTC and chemical and paper goods. Her division was one of the largest in the company with a multi-billion dollar sales volume. Prior to joining Walmart, Bauza oversaw seasonal retail for L Brand's Bath and Body Works division, and was responsible for the launch of the new beauty store concept, C.O. Bigelow. Before joining L Brands, she was with Five Below, Inc. where she led all merchandising initiatives for planning, pricing, distribution and sourcing. During her time at the Walt Disney Company, she served as a senior merchandising executive.

Kathleen McLaughlin, Chief Sustainability Officer and President, Walmart Foundation

Although she is neither a merchant nor an operator, Kathleen McLaughlin occupies what is arguably one of the most significant positions at Walmart. In her role, she leads the retailer's aggressive sustainability agenda, including newly established goals to achieve science-based emission reduction targets by running on 50% renewable energy, and to expand sustainable sourcing to cover 20 of its key commodities — all by 2025. Last summer, Walmart committed to source an additional $250 billion in products made, assembled or grown in the United States over the next 10 years. In concert with that, Walmart is also making a $10-million investment in a U.S. manufacturing innovation fund, partnering with universities and other organizations to build new ways of manufacturing. As chief of the Walmart Foundation, McLaughlin helped the company surpass over $1.4 billion in giving worldwide, including $1 billion of food donations.

Erin Sharp, Group VP of Manufacturing, Kroger

Erin Sharp is responsible for 7,000 associates across Kroger's network of 38 manufacturing plants, as well as sourcing and planning for all of Kroger Corporate Brands grocery products. Those plants make about 60 percent of Kroger-branded food items, from peanut butter and pet food to dairy and bakery items. Kroger's private label sales hit $20 billion in 2015. Kroger's Simple Truth line has been hugely successful under Sharp's watch. Sales from the brand hit $1.5 billion in 2015, and the brand is quickly becoming more popular as a lower price alternative to competing organic products. Sharp joined Kroger in 2011 as Vice President, Operations for the Manufacturing Division. She was promoted to her current role in 2013. Before joining the company, she served as Vice President of Manufacturing for Sara Lee Corp.

Helena B. Foulkes, EVP CVS Health and President CVS Pharmacy

Helena B. Foulkes began working at CVS in 1992, rising through the ranks to become the architect of customer-engagement programs and digital initiatives that have been key to CVS's $81 billion in annual retail/LTC sales. Foulkes has responsibility for all aspects of the company's retail business including its more than 9,600 retail stores,18 distribution centers and e-commerce sites, as well as merchandising, supply chain, marketing, real estate, front store and pharmacy operations. She oversaw the launch of the ExtraCare card, a hugely successful membership program offering savings to participants. Foulkes also led the creation of CVS's Pharmacy Advisor program, which offers counseling in stores and by phone to Caremark members with chronic conditions. Recently Foulkes led the launch of CVS Curbside in about 4,000 stores.

Stephenie Landry, Worldwide VP for Amazon Prime Now

In her 13 years at Amazon, Stephenie Landry has accomplished many things, but one of the most significant was development of the Prime Now concept that reset shopper expectations of convenience. Launched in 2014, the one-hour delivery service now available in 49 cities across seven countries has disrupted the retail industry by delivering product selection, price and immediacy to consumers' doorsteps. The service allows Amazon Prime members to get 1-hour delivery on tens of thousands of products, and the list of options keeps growing. Prime Now has even expanded to include restaurant delivery. Landry was a founding team member of Amazon Fresh (fresh grocery delivery), and she led the conception and launch of several initiatives including Amazon Student, Amazon Mom, and Prime Pantry. Landry first came to work at Amazon as an intern in 2003.

Prama Bhatt, VP of Digital and E-Commerce, Ulta Beauty

Prama Bhatt leads the fastest growing business at one of the nation's fastest growing retailers. Ulta Beauty will surpass 1,000 store locations in 2017, but what is most impressive about the company's ascent and market share gains is the growth of digital. A key driver of the company's astounding 15.2 percent same store sales growth during the nine months ended Oct. 29, 2016, was an e-commerce business that grew 50.8 percent to $190.5 million. As Vice President, Digital & E-Commerce at Ulta Beauty, Bhatt is responsible for overseeing the areas of online merchandising, digital marketing, site experience, mobile apps and e-commerce operations. She has led various retail e-commerce teams for over 10 years, delivering e-commerce growth and driving omnichannel capabilities. Prior to joining Ulta Beauty in 2014, Bhatt held e-commerce leadership roles at Kenneth Cole Productions and Toys'R'Us.

Ornella Barra, Co-Chief Operating Officer, Walgreens Boots Alliance

Hers may not be a household name in U.S. healthcare, but Ornella Barra is one of the industry's most influential executives. As co-COO of Walgreens Boots Alliance, Barra oversees international retail and global brands for WBA, as well as the company's Pharmaceutical Wholesale division — which extends to 200,000 healthcare providers in 19 countries — as well as supply chain, communications, HR and IT functions. Prior to the Walgreens Boots Alliance merger, Barra was Chief Executive Wholesale and Brands of Alliance Boots. A pharmacist by training, Ornella Barra started her own company in the 1980s before merging it with a firm led by Stefano Pessina. The partners built a pharmacy empire in Europe that would eventually lead to a merger of Walgreens and Alliance Boots in 2014, with Pessina as CEO of the combined company. Last year, Barra was promoted to co-COO, a move that could be part of an eventual succession plan for Pessina.