Williams-Sonoma appoints new CFO | Retail diving


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Diving Brief:

  • Williams-Sonoma has named Jeff Howie as its new chief financial officer, the retailer announced on Wednesday. Julie Whalen, the company’s former CFO, is leaving the company to become the new CFO of Expedia Group.
  • During his 20 years at Williams-Sonoma, Howie held leadership positions with the William Sonoma, Pottery Barn Kids, Pottery Barn and Pottery Barn Teen brands.
  • Alex Bellos, former chairman of West Elm, is stepping down to become co-CEO and board member of Food52, Schoolhouse and Dansk.

Overview of the dive:

In his job announcement, Howie expressed his commitment to helping the company exceed its $10 billion revenue goal.

“I am excited to continue my 20 years of experience with Williams-Sonoma, Inc. in taking on this new role and implementing our long-term growth strategies,” Howie said in a statement.

Howie most recently served as executive vice president and chief administrative officer of Williams-Sonoma, overseeing finance, inventory and point of sale for the Pottery Barn brands, as well as real estate, store development, facilities business and business-to-business commerce for all of Williams-Sonoma.

“Jeff Howie has been instrumental in orchestrating the success of many of our key business initiatives over the years,” Williams-Sonoma President and CEO Laura Alber said in a statement. “Jeff’s financial acumen, institutional knowledge, operational expertise, and fundamental contributions to our growth initiatives make him uniquely qualified to serve as WSI’s next CFO.”

Howie steps into the role of chief financial officer after the company reports a successful second quarter.

The company saw an 11.3% increase in same-brand revenue growth. While the Williams Sonoma brand grew 0.5% in the second quarter of 2022, its sister brand, Pottery Barn, saw same-brand revenue growth of 21.5%. West Elm and Pottery Barn Kids and Teen rose 6.1% and 5.3% respectively.

West Elm has recently teamed up with other brands to introduce new furniture products. In July, the retailer launched a collection furniture, bibs and tableware for children with the brand for babies and toddlers Lalo. This month, the retailer called on the office furniture brand Branch to showcase a collection of chairs, desks, storage accessories and other items suitable for home workers and small and medium businesses.

Meanwhile, with Bellos stepping down to join Food 52, Williams-Sonoma said he was looking for a new West Elm president internally and externally.

“As I transition from my role as brand president to my new role as co-CEO outside of WSI, I would like to express my gratitude to my colleagues for their contributions to the West Elm brand,” Bellos said in a statement. “I am proud of our accomplishments and confident that the current team will continue to build on the success of the brand.”

Food52 also underwent recent management changes earlier this year. In February, the brand named Jason Chatterjee as the new Chief Financial Officer and Head of Business Development. He also named Ben Gerst as chief product and technology officer and made several other leadership appointments.


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