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Forget what we said in our Jan. 28 article, “Lowe Alpine’s New CEO Rolling Up Sleeves.” — click here to read.
Apparently the sleeves are still down, and the CEO revolving door
remains fully operational at Lowe Alpine worldwide. John King is now
out, and David Joyce, formerly the commercial director of Lowe’s
international outdoor brand, is now in.
seems when Ruth Henderson, CEO of William Baird PLC, brought King in on
Nov. 27 to replace Mark Hammersly, who’d been with Lowe as CEO just 15
months (darn near tenure the way things are going these days), the hire
was only as interim CEO. Someone at corporate apparently forgot to tell
that little detail to anyone, including the rest of the staff here in
the U.S. Certainly in chats and emails with King, the SNEWSÂ® team was
never led to believe King was anything but the new CEO.
In an official statement issued by the company, King was quoted as
saying, “My appointment with Lowe Alpine was always intended to be
short-lived. I was brought in by Baird to work with the senior
management team to develop a coherent strategy for the brand, and it is
a credit to the team that this work has been completed in such a short
time span and the strategy is now in place.”
Joyce elaborated, briefly, on the brand strategy by stating that the
company will focus on “product design excellence and supply chain
efficiency” over the next three years.
SNEWSÂ® was able to contact Lowe Alpine USA president Blake Waltrip who
told us he was pleased with the move because Joyce comes from within
the company and has a long — three years, whew — history with the
“John (King) came in quickly and established operational procedures and
excellence based on his vast experience in the apparel industry, and
David (Joyce) was working right alongside him,” said Waltrip. “Thanks
to John, we now have a very clear long-term strategic and financial
plan in tandem with a solid logistical and operational framework.”
SNEWSÂ® will present David Joyce’s vision for Lowe to our readers in the coming week.
What on earth was Lowe UK/Baird leadership thinking? Just when things
appeared to be getting somewhat settled at Lowe — No more rumors of an
impending sale, other than London financial market analyst speculations
and musings; a CEO that was likable and appeared to be just what the
doctor ordered; and the U.S. on track finally and looking good —
there’s a leadership change that appeared to come out of the blue. But
in reality it didn’t. Didn’t it actually occur to anyone that it might
have been a good idea to let everyone in on the little secret that King
was just a transitional CEO? Apparently, stability is not in the Baird
corporate lexicon. Let’s see: Since Baird acquired Lowe in May of 1999,
the company somehow managed to take nearly two years to find a
president for the U.S. division, in the meantime losing virtually any
market share the U.S. once enjoyed. It now has the proud distinction of
owning a company for three years and having three different CEO’s to
match — not even dysfunctional NFL teams change coaches that often. We
hope that the buck (err, pound) will finally stop with Joyce. If
Waltrip and his U.S. team are expected to function with any semblance
of organizational consistency and take a message of stability and
operational excellence to the retailers they are trying to win over,
the UK has to decide to settle down — and soon.