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Dive Brief:

  • Williams-Sonoma has appointed Jeff Howie as its new CFO, the retailer announced on Wednesday. Julie Whalen, the company’s previous CFO, is departing the company to become the new CFO at Expedia Group. 
  • During his 20 years at Williams-Sonoma, Howie has held executive leadership roles at the William Sonoma, Pottery Barn Kids, Pottery Barn and Pottery Barn Teen brands. 
  • Alex Bellos, formerly the president of West Elm, is leaving that role to become the co-CEO and board member of Food52, Schoolhouse and Dansk.

Dive Insight:

In his hiring announcement, Howie expressed commitment to helping the company surpass its goal of $10 billion in revenue.

“I am excited to build on my 20-year history with Williams-Sonoma, Inc. by taking on this new role and delivering on our long-term growth strategies,” Howie said in a statement. 

Howie most recently served as Williams-Sonoma’s executive vice president and chief administrative officer overseeing Finance, Inventory, and Outlets across the Pottery Barn brands, as well as Real Estate, Store Development, Corporate Facilities and Business to Business for all of Williams-Sonoma. 

“Jeff Howie has been instrumental in orchestrating the success of several 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 foundational contributions to our growth initiatives make him uniquely qualified to become WSI’s next CFO.”

Howie steps into the CFO role after the company reported a successful second quarter. 

The company reported an 11.3% bump in comparable brand revenue growth. While the Williams Sonoma brand grew 0.5% in Q2 2022, its sister brand, Pottery Barn, reported 21.5% comparable brand revenue growth. West Elm and Pottery Barn Kids and Teen grew by 6.1% and 5.3%, respectively. 

West Elm has recently partnered with other brands to introduce new furniture products. In July, the retailer launched a collection of children’s furniture, bibs and dishware with the infant and toddler brand Lalo. This month the retailer tapped the office furniture brand Branch to introduce a collection of chairs, desks, storage accessories and other items tailored to at-home workers and small- to midsize businesses.

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

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

Food52 has also undergone recent leadership changes earlier this year. In February, the brand appointed Jason Chatterjee as its new CFO and head of corporate development. It also named Ben Gerst as its new chief product and technology officer, and made several other executive appointments.



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