Karen Lynch, Libby Wadle, and Lauren Hobart are retail’s latest c-suite hires.

Women lead at Dick’s, J.Crew, and CVS with the new appointments of Karen Lynch, Libby Wadle, and Lauren Hobart.

Dick’s Sporting Goods

The company appointed Lauren Hobart, currently the retailer’s president, to replace CEO Ed Stack in February. Since Hobart signed with Dick’s in 2017, she’s led many of its winning developments, including…

  • Restrategizing Dick’s e-comm approach. Of its $8.8 billion in annual sales, $1+ billion now come from e-comm.
  • Identifying  growth segments including private label brands and women’s apparel.

“This is the perfect time for this transition,” the outgoing CEO said in a statement, per CNBC. “We have the best management team in the company’s history, and the investments we have made in our people, our stores, and our communities are paying off.”


The newly announced CEO Karen Lynch made her first hire: She selected former Crate & Barrel CEO Neela Montgomery to oversee the chain’s ~10,000 drugstores as president of CVS Pharmacy. Montgomery steered her former employer to generating 50+% of its revenue from online sales—and it’s likely she’ll bring the same omnichannel touch to CVS.

According to Bloomberg, Montgomery will oversee CVS’s roughly 10,000 drugstores in the U.S. at a time when people are buying more convenience items online and the coronavirus pandemic is introducing more patients to ordering prescription medicines the same way. CVS has been transforming itself into a more diversified health-care company, with plans to remodel more than 2,000 of its stores to offer services like diabetes management. It has been shifting its emphasis as a slew of digital pharmacies, including heavyweights like Amazon.com Inc., try to break into the prescription sales business.


The company named Madewell president Libby Wadle to the top spot, replacing former CEO Jan Singer, who’d held the role for 10 months. Madewell has consistently grown under Wadle’s leadership—teeing the brand up for a planned, then shelved, IPO in the past year.   “To be successful in today’s retail environment, brands must have a strong sense of purpose, deep connection with their customers, and an organizational structure that rewards creativity, agility and innovation,” Wadle said, in a statement. “Moving forward as a company under unified leadership, we will harness the power of our collective platforms and talented teams to ensure our brands can continue to inspire and grow.”

Path to parity

Women make up only 29% of executives in retail, but 59% of store staff, according to Equal Employment Opportunity Commission data. That makes the above hires both major achievements and reminders of retail’s room for growth.

  • It’s about more than optics: McKinsey data show that companies in the top quartile for gender diversity on leadership teams were 25% more likely to report above-average profitability than those in the bottom quartile.

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