Mohamed Amer

Independent Board Member, Investor and Startup Advisor

Living in Southern California, Mohamed is keen on applying his corporate and entrepreneurial executive leadership across strategy, technology, and communications in the service of progressive boards of directors, c-suites, and startup companies.

Building teams and driving results spanning multiple industry sectors and domains, Mohamed brings successful experience in public and private sectors across mission-critical operational, supply chain, strategy, communications, and technology roles.  He is a highly trusted coach and advisor for senior executives and entrepreneurs in the technology and consumer-facing industries.

During his tenure at SAP, Mohamed held several senior roles that included leading the solution footprint, M&A, and go-to-market strategy for the global grocery business, and developing the future supply chain product area for retail. While leading the Retail Business Unit in the Americas, he supported business development, key customer implementations, and strategic relationships as well as managing key user groups and executive customer councils. He also led internal and external communication roles across multiple sectors and most recently having responsibility for executive communications in SAP’s Office of the Co-Presidents.

Prior to SAP, Mohamed was co-founder and President of NEXstep, an Internet supply chain software startup which was acquired by Viewlocity.  He also held leadership positions in the retail management consultancy, Kurt Salmon Associates (acquired by Accenture) with extensive Retail and CPG client engagements as well as general management roles in the office products industry at Boise Cascade and Buhrmann-Tetterode.

Mohamed held a commission with the US Navy (Lieutenant Commander – naval aviation and naval intelligence) and has earned an MBA at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, an MA in National Security Affairs at the US Naval Postgraduate School, and an MA in Human and Organizational Systems at Fielding Graduate University.

  • Posted on: 06/04/2020

    Walmart sells inclusivity at its annual shareholder meeting

    Yesterday I saw a true anomaly in the business world. A bold statement by Ben & Jerry’s titled, “We must dismantle white supremacy: silence is not an option.” The statement went beyond raising awareness and offering solidarity to demanding change with a specific four-prong strategy. Statements and actions by companies such as Ben & Jerry’s affirm the leadership role that businesses must take up to right wrongs and create a healthier marketplace for retailing to take place. As I’ve shared in the past, retailers are the intersection of business and society in the communities they serve. They can be leaders for change.
  • Posted on: 06/04/2020

    Will retailers pass along or eat COVID-19 shipping surcharges?

    Pass along they will without a doubt. That may be in the form of minimum order size, bundling promotions, increasing margins, or any other way to minimize a the chance of a profitless transaction. The real challenge is that the consumer in summer of 2020 is not the same as in January 2020 and retailers are fighting to survive as they fix their balance sheets and supply chains at the same time. Rising costs will be passed on to reluctant consumers that are reprioritizing spending on a reduced budget. Not a great situation to be in.
  • Posted on: 06/03/2020

    Can outdoor dining save restaurants?

    Outdoor dining is an option, but not the solution to sustained cash flow and liquidity. Survivors will depend less on executing a perfect outdoor dining strategy and more on fixing their balance sheet. The trick is to remain viable long enough so you can (re)grow revenues and profit once we achieve our vaccine moment.
  • Posted on: 06/03/2020

    Lowe’s ‘virtually’ goes on the job for home improvement pros

    Very good initiative that integrates technology to improve or even change an existing process. Lowe’s will benefit greatly by listening to the valuable feedback provided by trade professionals. No instant hits, but can become a true advantage for both Lowe’s and the trade with a bonus of happy end customers.
  • Posted on: 06/03/2020

    Is the future of retailing going dark?

    No, dark stores are not the future of retail. However, agility, as in speed of assessing the environment and responding smartly to it, is the future. Dark stores or micro fulfillment centers will be part of the overall strategy, but not its dominant characteristic. Don’t underestimate the need for robust forecast models and inventory management to control undesirable rise in working capital.
  • Posted on: 06/01/2020

    Is it safe to bring back food sampling?

    Introducing sampling for in-store consumption will return slowly. A year or so from now, it may be back to pre-COVID days. In the interim, the rollout will be based on a specific community’s infection data. Any standardized national policy would have to be at the lowest common denominator and that only generates frustrations for all - customers and employees alike.
  • Posted on: 06/01/2020

    Retail ensnared in nationwide protests

    If we were visited by an alien being in 1968 and again in 2020, they’d see great improvements in technology and a widening gulf between the haves and the have-nots. Moreover, they’d see a great narrowing of the haves and increasing economic and social inequities. Retailers are the interface between business models of an economic system and the people - all the people and communities. Digital retailing has removed the store - the community’s meeting place - from the social fabric that holds and reflects our civic norms and further increased the sense of individualism and bunker mentality. The current messages from retailers are a first step in the national healing process. However, words without follow-through deeds will cause more harm than not. The retail industry holds a unique and binding place in society and must exercise power and leverage to effect genuine changes that realize genuine social equality and curb extremist policies.
  • Posted on: 05/18/2020

    What’s J.C. Penney’s next move?

    Unencumbered real estate assets are not so "liquid" if there’s greatly reduced demand for those assets, just think of the airlines’ situation with their grounded fleets. Similarly, for J.C. Penney the pandemic could not have arrived at a worse time. Jill Soltau and her team were bringing a welcomed merchant mindset to the company but the structural headwinds for the format and category have been overwhelming. Now these are further exacerbated by the shutdown, accelerated consumer move to online purchases, and uncertainty on the new in-store normal. Bankruptcy buys time but not enough to reinvent the brand and category with new formats and store size/count to better match the changing consumer behavior. The new J.C. Penney will need to be a very different retail model and cost structure - and that might be a bridge too far for this iconic American brand.
  • Posted on: 05/15/2020

    McDonald’s publishes playbook for reopening restaurants

    Bravo, McDonald’s! This is a great step forward to standardize across the chain by optimizing for customer and employee safety which will result in a higher dine-in share of the market than its competitors. They just need to communicate the heck out of it and make highly visible signage that reinforces the message and intent. Nevertheless, I expect drive-thru business will remain significantly higher than pre-COVID.
  • Posted on: 05/14/2020

    Should grocers keep paying their associates like heroes?

    Absolutely Mark, it is a real challenge. Once a vaccine is available to the public, then you can mitigate the inherent risk. Short of that, the operating cost for retailers is going up and there’s no way to avoid it and having this happen with simultaneous reduction in store traffic is a double squeeze. In the interim, accessible and reliable testing will help as will taking active precautionary measures to limit spread. Customers are more likely to frequent a well-run store (read: safe) over a crowded one with no cues that shout I have healthy employees and surfaces are clean.
  • Posted on: 05/14/2020

    Does a Neiman Marcus and Saks hookup make sense?

    Let’s not confuse value realization for hedge funds with profitably operating a combination facing high debt levels, uncertainty around future consumer demand and timing, increased operating costs for physical stores, and changing supply chain networks. All these macro issues overlay the core merchandising decisions that have to be meticulously planned and flawlessly executed. For me this goes in the high risk, low reward quadrant.
  • Posted on: 05/14/2020

    Should grocers keep paying their associates like heroes?

    That sums it up well! In the military, there’s hazardous duty pay when you work in extraordinary conditions, we have the same situation here.
  • Posted on: 05/13/2020

    Is it safer to shop at farmers’ markets than in supermarkets?

    An open air environment has an advantage over closed spaces with regards to the concentration of the virus in the air. But if everyone is shoulder to shoulder and without masks, it really doesn’t matter if the sky is the limit.
  • Posted on: 05/07/2020

    Is it time to move beyond ‘now more than ever’ COVID-19 commercials?

    Yes it’s time, but periods of transitions require nuanced actions that are tricky to navigate. Do provide an upbeat vision of hope and the future. Don’t discount or ignore that many are still losing loved ones to the virus.
  • Posted on: 05/07/2020

    Is curbside pickup just getting started?

    Curbside pickup was born out of a crisis but will linger long after it ends. It’s the drive-thru model of QSR adapted for retailers. Consider it an additional convenience offering in a retailer’s menu. It will not be fee-based, but soon will be table stakes.

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