New RadioShack CEO promises to reinvent business model

Discussion
Apr 28, 2016
George Anderson

RadioShack has hired a new president and CEO and, like many before him, he’s promising to finally put things right at the chain that bills itself as the “neighborhood electronics convenience store.”

This week, RadioShack announced that Dene Rogers, the former CEO of Target Australia and Sears Canada, would take over on May 9. Mr. Rogers, according to a press release to announce his hiring, “will focus on positioning RadioShack’s unique omnichannel platform for long-term growth.” He will also serve as a member of the company’s board.

Robert Lavan, RadioShack’s chairman, lauded Mr. Rogers’ “long and consistent record of business success” and said he “has an impressive vision for how to expand the business into other segments of the market across a variety of platforms.”

For his part, Mr. Rogers described RadioShack as “a storied brand known for its customer focus.” He pledged to work with the retailer’s team to improve its “existing operations and expand its online presence.” In the end, he promised, “we will reinvent RadioShack’s business model to create a dynamic growth company.”

Mr. Rogers takes over a company that emerged from bankruptcy as a much smaller concern under the ownership of Standard General LP last April. Former Dell executive Ron Garriques was brought on as CEO, but he announced he was leaving to pursue other interests back in January. RadioShack’s CFO Gordon Briscoe served as interim CEO during the search process.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:
Does Dene Rogers’ background suggest he’ll have more success establishing RadioShack as a “dynamic growth company” than his predecessors? What steps will RadioShack need to take to “reinvent” its business model?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
"Unfortunately, RadioShack is a company whose time has passed. In a commodity business, it could not compete on price or service."
"The generation that is becoming today’s electronics gadgetry consumer doesn’t have any attachment to RadioShack."
"While a big box retail background is relevant from an operations perspective, it doesn’t suggest any experience morphing a small box specialty retail chain into a "dynamic growth company.""

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13 Comments on "New RadioShack CEO promises to reinvent business model"


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Max Goldberg
Guest
3 years 7 months ago

My take on the RadioShack announcement: a lot of words without much substance. Unfortunately, RadioShack is a company whose time has passed. In a commodity business, it could not compete on price or service. I don’t see its path for dynamic growth. Some RadioShack stores will be able to continue due to their locations and staff, but most are no longer relevant.

Bob Amster
Guest
3 years 7 months ago

I grew up on Radio Shack and mourned its demise. Whether or not Dene Rogers has the right background, it is going to be a tough challenge. There are so many electronics e-commerce providers and same-day shippers that the competition appears fierce. What can RadioShack provide that will differentiate it from its potential competitors?

The generation that is becoming today’s electronics gadgetry consumer doesn’t have any attachment to RadioShack. If RadioShack jumps into Internet sales, which it must, how is it going to be different than any other e-retailer? To whom is it going to appeal?

It appears to me that this particular survival story is not about the CEO that runs the company but about a business that faltered, management fell asleep at the switch (a la Blockbuster) when the paradigm was changing, and now will find it almost impossible to regain its former position in the marketplace.

It’s sad, but I think true.

Tom Redd
Guest
3 years 7 months ago

Dene has to get the message that just the brand and logo — RS — is dragging a negative image trail so long that it must be cut off. Maybe name it “The Shack” and realign with the strange Generation Z and late Millennials? Not sure about Dene but someone inside that shop needs to listen — the name causes people to avoid the joint. Re-think the shop, leverage the locations and re-structure the websites and merchandising ops. There might be a chance. Mr. Rogers can call me — I can help.

Charles Whiteman
Guest
3 years 7 months ago

While a big box retail background is relevant from an operations perspective, it doesn’t suggest any experience morphing a small box specialty retail chain into a “dynamic growth company.”

It seems to me there are several tricks RadioShack must perform to succeed:

  1. Come up with a pricing strategy that works online (where everything is available and is highly price competitive);
  2. Leverage the stores to deliver these things same-day;
  3. Most importantly, look into the future to figure out how they can drive store traffic. In my opinion, the best shot at this is for RadioShack to morph into a “home automation expert” in ZIP codes where this may become a trend.
Cathy Hotka
Guest
3 years 7 months ago

TRedd is right — the name is a major issue. “Radio” has long been eclipsed by video and “Shack” is straight out of the beach blanket movies of the ’50s. A complete re-brand would complement whatever new customer strategies the company embraces. If they’re smart about it they’ll do a nationwide survey and ask customers for a new identity.

Ben Ball
Guest
3 years 7 months ago

From the perspective of one with a bit of Australian and Canadian experience, I will certainly attest that Mr. Rogers has taken on some tough challenges in retail. What I haven’t heard is that either of them have substantially changed their momentum in their markets. So it’s tough to say much about his potential impact on RadioShack.

As for the brand itself — can it be saved?

No.

Shep Hyken
Guest
3 years 7 months ago

RadioShack changed lanes and lost. They left their core customers behind when they decided to compete against big box electronics retailers. You don’t go to RadioShack to buy a TV. To succeed, they will have to be identified for what they are/were best at. They should stay in that lane and avoid chasing “shiny objects” that take them away from what their customers know them for.

Jerry Gelsomino
Guest
3 years 7 months ago

Mr. Rogers’ first mistake is describing RadioShack as “a storied brand known for its customer focus.” As a long-time customer, I experienced a lack of customer-focus. Independently-operated, they were inconsistent. At the same time, we needed a RadioShack store that made technology simple, understandable and easy to use.

Karen McNeely
Guest
3 years 7 months ago

My knee-jerk reaction is that he doesn’t have a shot and he will serve more as a hospice nurse, helping RadioShack to die comfortably, than a miracle worker.

The only glimmer of hope I saw was his “long and consistent record of business success.” Since I was unfamiliar with what his retail background was I did a Google search. Hmm, Kmart, Sears and Target Australia. It’s not exactly instilling confidence in me of his ability to do a major turnaround for this troubled company.

Lee Kent
Guest
3 years 7 months ago

I loved RadioShack in its day and could perhaps see them move back to that kind of experience but a major re-branding would be in order.

You see, I loved being able to go over to RadioShack on a Saturday afternoon and sit around and tinker with other geeks. In those days, we were mostly about building our own computers from kits.

Today, we have the open source from Amazon to build your own Echo and then there’s Google’s new Project Tango. Wouldn’t geeks like me just love to have somewhere to go and play with this stuff? Where they could linger, drink coffee maybe (I prefer tea) and have access to tools, components and other people who were willing to help and share? That is how big ideas happen!

For my 2 cents.

Vahe Katros
Guest
Vahe Katros
3 years 7 months ago
On February 12, 2013 , George Anderson, on these same pages asked: “Will New CEO Be the Right Rx For What Ails RadioShack?” I wrote the following answer and since then, the geek audience has further expanded and organized as has IoT, the importance of STEM education (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) and the coolness and importance of science and engineering in general. I won’t change or edit the original list below but here are some quick additions: Engage/emulate ProductHunt, the hugely acclaimed community that describes themselves like this: “Product Hunt surfaces the best new products, every day. It’s a place for product-loving enthusiasts to share and geek out about the latest mobile apps, websites, hardware projects, and tech creations.” About the name, I would keep it for sure — you want to connect with awkward geeks and showing respect for the OG’s (Original Geeks) who built your company and paved the way…Ham Radio! Radio Shack finds itself in the middle of the most powerful and enthusiast epoch of science since Sputnik! Oh, and I would… Read more »
Craig Sundstrom
Guest
3 years 7 months ago

No. None.

Normally when an exec leaves Sears — even the almost functioning Canadian offspring — I would think life can only look brighter, but in this case I’m not at all sure. Good luck Mr. Rogers … I fear you may well need it.

Kai Clarke
Guest
3 years 7 months ago

No. RadioShack needs an experienced Retail Leader who is familiar with the USA retail environment and what is working now in modern day American retail. Bringing in a foreigner, who is unfamiliar with American retail, has no history with USA retail marketing, sales, and its history, will require a tremendous amount of learning, ramp-up time and different style of leadership than what Dene Rogers’ background suggests that he has to offer.

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Braintrust
"Unfortunately, RadioShack is a company whose time has passed. In a commodity business, it could not compete on price or service."
"The generation that is becoming today’s electronics gadgetry consumer doesn’t have any attachment to RadioShack."
"While a big box retail background is relevant from an operations perspective, it doesn’t suggest any experience morphing a small box specialty retail chain into a "dynamic growth company.""

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