Will on-the-job training become a new norm in CEO succession planning?
Lands’ End earlier this week said it had concluded its search for a new CEO with the hiring of American Eagle Outfitters president, international, Andrew McLean, who is slated to replace Jerome Griffith who will retire and become executive chair.
Mr. McLean will join Lands’ End as a member of its board and CEO-designate on Nov. 1. He won’t take over as CEO from Mr. Griffith until the end of the company’s fiscal year, January 27, 2023.
Josephine Linden, chair of the Lands’ End board, praised Mr. Griffith for his role in leading the company for five years.
“Jerome has played a pivotal role in generating significant e-commerce growth, developing and expanding Lands’ End’s uni-channel distribution network to include top partners such as Kohl’s, Amazon, QVC and Target, stewarding the Company through numerous successful infrastructure upgrades, and increasing the Company’s recognition and engagement with consumers through unique collaborations,” she said.
“I am confident that our digitally driven business model and highly loyal customer base has positioned Lands’ End well for long-term growth and success. I look forward to working closely with Andrew to ensure a smooth transition,” said Mr. Griffith.
Mr. McLean’s CEO-in-waiting status marks the second time in recent weeks that a major consumer-facing retail company has announced an arrangement to ease a new leader into their role.
Starbucks, earlier this month, announced the hiring of Reckitt Benckiser Group CEO Laxman Narasimhan to replace Howard Schultz, its interim CEO, who is back in his third stint leading the coffee giant. Mr. Narasimhan will join Starbucks in October and work with Mr. Schultz before taking over as CEO next April.
The approach taken by Lands’ End and Starbucks is not new to the retailing world. Marvin Ellison was hired in October 2014 to replace interim CEO Mike Ullman at J.C. Penney, who had served as interim CEO of the department store chain following the disastrous period in which Ron Johnson led the company. Mr. Ellison, who had been executive vice president for stores at Home Depot before joining Penney, did not officially become its CEO until August 2015.
Mr. McLean seems intent to build on the work of his predecessor.
“Jerome and his team have built a strong foundation, and I am excited to work closely with management and the Board to help Lands’ End leverage its many opportunities and drive strong, sustainable financial performance.”
- Lands’ End Announces CEO Succession Plan – Lands’ End
- What should Starbucks’s new CEO’s priorities be? – RetailWire
- Penney CEO search is finally (almost) over – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What do you see as the pros and cons of CEO succession plans that ease new leaders into their roles? Do you expect more retailers changing CEOs to follow similar paths as Lands’ End and Starbucks?