In what’s hopefully just a precursor to future career advancement opportunities, last week featured the promotions of several women to C-level positions at leading retail brands. Here’s summary of what occurred:
- Kelly Cook was named the new chief marketing officer at Kmart, where she will replace Andrew Stein, who exited the role to join Big Lots in 2013. Cook will be tasked with leading the discount department store chain’s brand relaunch and omnichannel initiatives. She comes to Kmart after having spent the last six-plus years at DSW in a variety of leadership positions, most recently serving as executive vice president and chief marketing officer.
- Kohl’s announced that it’s promoted current chief customer officer Michelle Gass to the newly created position of principal officer as well as chief merchandising officer. Gass arrived at Kohl’s in 2013 after spending 16-plus years at Starbucks in various marketing and leadership roles. In her new position, Gass will oversee all of Kohl’s merchandising, planning and allocation, and product development functions. She will also continue leading Kohl’s overall customer engagement strategy, including the company’s marketing, public relations and social media efforts. Furthermore, there’s widespread speculation that Gass is being groomed for the CEO job at Kohl’s.
- Debra Berman, former chief marketing officer at J.C. Penney, has been hired by Yahoo as the company’s first-ever senior vice president of consumer marketing. She will be responsible for overseeing product marketing, helping to drive audience engagement and leading consumer brand strategy, said Kathy Savitt, Yahoo’s chief marketing officer, and to whom Berman will be reporting. Berman will help to breathe new life into Yahoo, which has garnered a reputation as an aging portal that lacks the luster of a Facebook, Snapchat or Google, reports Ad Age.
These are positive steps for an industry whose leadership has traditionally been dominated by men, despite the fact that women are the primary shopper in most households. Let’s see if this trend continues or if last week was the exception rather than the norm.