PROFILE

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.

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  • Posted on: 01/15/2020

    Is Amazon more friend or foe for digital start-ups?

    For a consumer-focused digital start-up, Amazon is a given fixture in the business landscape. It cannot be ignored or easily labeled as friend or foe because it’s both at the same time. Amazon is maniacally driven by a desire to be the glue that integrates every consumer purchase, every home, and every life event by connecting the digital and physical in meaningful terms for consumers everywhere. As long as the digital start-up contributes to Amazon’s purpose, then life is good; should it undermine or jeopardize that purpose, or grow too fast or too big so as to challenge Amazon, then the start-up will be in a very one-sided fight for survival.
  • Posted on: 01/13/2020

    Does humanizing virtual assistants undermine consumer privacy?

    Voice virtual assistants will define human interaction with technology in the 2020s. While voice assistants will be designed and based on functional objectives (car assistant, a child’s cuddly toy, a search or shopping engine, etc...), we will relate, identify, and engage with them based on how the technology is materialized and integrated in our daily activities. The more we interact with them, the more they become a part of our identity, how we make sense of the world, and overall meaning-making. This will be far reaching and more revolutionary than any human-technology interface designed to date. It has the potential to bring comfort to young and old, simplify life, or be a trusted friend. Yet, with such well deserved optimism comes a very dark side ripe for abuse and a world in which our worst instincts are unleashed. There’s no going back on this trajectory, technology providers must own up to a greater responsibility on how their technology impacts society and data usage and privacy must become a top policy priority.
  • Posted on: 01/09/2020

    Will ‘five pillars’ provide the foundation Bed Bath & Beyond needs to succeed?

    Mr. Tritton’s retail credentials are stellar and is what Bed Bath & Beyond needs to transform. While Mr. Tritton made a bold move by sweeping out his C-suite and is absolutely correct about the foundational pillars, Bed Bath & Beyond is in a race to avoid extinction. As such, there must be an immediate focus that galvanizes the entire organization and that has to be greatly improving the in-store experience and rationalizing their assortment. Although Mr. Tritton is directionally correct about digital’s impact and the absolute need to invest, it will not be sufficient to counter the existential threat of declining same-store comps and poor in-store experience.
  • Posted on: 01/08/2020

    Does ‘selfish shopping’ justify post-holiday discounting?

    Nothing really new here. The notion of self-gifting is alive and well before and after the holidays with luxury and higher price point items being ripe for this approach. The popularity of gift cards is less about the season and is more of a cultural shift for greater choice coupled with an easier and more convenient way to give and receive.
  • Posted on: 01/08/2020

    Pier 1 to close up to 450 stores as it faces uncertain future

    A year ago, Pier 1 Imports announced that its CEO and former president of Kmart, Alasdair James, had stepped down and that Credit Suisse has been retained to explore financial alternatives. They were less than a year into a “New Day” turnaround strategy that did not deliver on reigniting top line growth. Over the past several years, Pier 1 customers have come to competitively associate the company with At Home, Cost Plus World Market, HomeGoods and Target. Previously, Pier 1 competed at a higher price point with the likes of Williams-Sonoma, Pottery Barn and Crate & Barrel. This brand positioning mismatch was indicative of how out of sync management had become with brand perception and its core customer. Without fixing store traffic and top line growth, no amount of rigorous cost reduction can save the company. I personally enjoy walking the Pier 1 stores but what I found novel and interesting 10 years ago, is non-differentiating today. Retailing is unforgiving and will continue to challenge every taken for granted assumption about consumers, assortments, choices, and rate of technology adoption. What will never change is the consumer’s desire for exceptional service, newness and unique offers of value wrapped in convenient and personalized ownership experiences.
  • Posted on: 01/03/2020

    Which retailer will rule in 2020?

    Target is well known for its marketing spots and high brand awareness. The company has been a stellar innovator in trendy merchandising and refreshing store visual presentations. They’ve continued to invest in IT and in creating a cross channel experience. While the jury is still out on its efforts to reboot grocery sales, in time Target will arrive at what appropriate focus the company ought to have in the grocery space. I expect 2020 to be a banner year for Target. My nomination for transformational turnaround in 2020 is Signet. The company is entering the third year of its Path to Brilliance strategy and their stores (Kay and especially Zales) have looked sharper and significantly more refreshed this holiday season. Pagoda continues to grow impressive comp store sales with its piercing business and right-priced assortment. It’s an uphill battle with falling mall traffic but Signet is creating compelling reasons to visit their stores.
  • Posted on: 01/02/2020

    Are return rates out of control?

    Returns are a natural consequence of retailing. They are exaggerated during the holiday cycle and now more so with the steady rise of online sales. At some point, retailers will use historical data to feed artificially intelligent algorithms to better anticipate returns as well as help create new models and smart category-specific processes for handling returns more efficiently.
  • Posted on: 01/02/2020

    California’s new privacy laws may trigger a wave

    California is at the epicenter of this data quake that over time will most certainly be felt in other states. It’s not so much a question of being good or bad for retailers as it is about creating a more mature and responsible approach to accessing and using customer data. The law continues a shift that puts consumers, by default, in charge of their own data. In today’s parlance and over the long run, this will prove beneficial for both retailers and consumers.
  • Posted on: 12/18/2019

    Bed Bath & Beyond’s CEO cleans house

    In life or death situations, drastic and decisive actions are a must. Energetic change of a strategic direction with speed and commitment necessitates a new mindset that ejects and rejects any legacy heel-dragging cement-anchored opposition. Far less risky to start with a clean slate rather than fighting ghosts of legacy’s long gone glory days. Mr Tritton is simply increasing the probabilities of success.
  • Posted on: 12/17/2019

    Why is Amazon banning FedEx ground delivery?

    Third-party sellers on Amazon are getting whipsawed at the height of the holiday shipping window while the two giants point fingers at each other. Yet here Amazon is restricting FedEx ground and home deliveries only for Prime orders. Third-party sellers can still use FedEx Express shipping for Prime orders. As to non-Prime orders, there are no restrictions on using FedEx ground and home delivery services. As lousy as the timing is on this latest move between the two corporate giants, Amazon is protecting its reputation and brand built around Prime and third-party sellers do have the FedEx delivery option on standard orders. Given the recent history between Amazon and FedEx, we should not be surprised about any of this or the impending end of their once convenient relationship. Sellers beware!
  • Posted on: 12/16/2019

    Andy Dunn’s departure from Walmart indicative of a broader problem

    This is really a two-part answer. First, acquired companies accelerate execution of strategic direction that the acquiring company could not achieve on its own in terms of time or capabilities. Second, the acquiring company may be looking to infuse its corporate DNA with new genes to help it fundamentally transform and to do so at a much faster speed. For Walmart, digital transformation is a strategic underpinning to its growth strategy and to remaining relevant and impactful with its customers. Bonobos is symbolic of these changes but the real outstanding question here is whether or not the body has rejected the new genes or if they have been accepted and will be broadly reflected in future strategies and business decisions. Time will tell.
  • Posted on: 12/16/2019

    Is the trade deal an early-Christmas present?

    There’s a resounding sigh of relief from the industry, yet flexibility and agility from sourcing and buying all the way through supply chain execution remain a critical requirement on top of multiple planning and pricing contingencies. Bottom line, there’s no respite to the uncertainties from policy announcements and negotiation via tweets. The effort, time and money that are lost due to the existing unpredictable environment do not appear to be going away any time soon. We can always hope this turns out to be more than just a mere fairy tale Christmas morsel.
  • Posted on: 12/10/2019

    Did Aviation Gin just make lemonade from Peloton’s lemons?

    Peloton was so focused on their product as the message that they forgot about the customer and how she is portrayed and objectified in their spot. Aviation Gin simply saw the opportunity to benefit from Peloton’s faux pas and the instant popularity of Ms. Ruiz. Aviation Gin created a follow-on spot that leverages the existing context and buzz around “Peloton wife.” Not only is it the Peloton antidote, the spot is smart, witty, and celebrates women on their own term. Smooth, very smooth!
  • Posted on: 12/09/2019

    Canada Goose brings snow but no inventory to new concept store

    How can you not get excited about such new retail concepts and formats! Canada Goose has figured out how to blend product, brand and experience into a powerful retail concept that transcends traditional channel thinking. By combining in-person exploration and creative settings, Canada Goose ignites the imagination and elevates the brand cachet. This is inspiring and is part of a larger cross channel experience that is focused on the customer and how they experience Canada Goose. Brilliant!
  • Posted on: 12/09/2019

    Why do so many people say ‘no’ to retailer loyalty programs?

    Spot on, Dick!

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