Remaking the Executive Team at Moda Operandi
Jim Gold, the new chief executive officer of Moda Operandi, has begun rebuilding the luxury website’s leadership team amid expectations of business improving in a post-pandemic retail resurgence.
Among others, Gold has recruited chief operating and chief information officers, and a search is underway for someone to fill a newly created chief merchant role.
In the quest for talent, Gold is leveraging his connections in the retail industry, in particular those at the Neiman Marcus Group, where during his long career there he rose to president and chief merchandising officer and earlier served as CEO of the Bergdorf Goodman division. He left NMG in March 2019, joined Moda as interim CEO in January 2021, and was elevated to CEO of Moda just last May.
Moda did not indicate whether the chief merchant being sought would take over responsibilities previously handled by Lisa Aiken, Moda’s former fashion and buying director, or have a different range of responsibilities. Aiken earlier this month joined Neiman Marcus as fashion and lifestyle director.
On Thursday, Dermott Sullivan becomes Moda’s chief operating officer. Sullivan was senior vice president of finance at the Hudson Bay Co. Prior to HBC, Sullivan spent 24 years at the Neiman Marcus Group, in finance, marketing, strategy and operations, ultimately rising to senior vice president of operations. Though Sullivan succeeds Nikhil Soares, whose title was senior vice president, supply chain, the chief operating officer position is a new role with expanded responsibilities.
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Also on Thursday, Don Allen becomes Moda’s chief information officer, a new role at Moda with responsibilities for working with the technology teams “to shape and implement Moda’s technology roadmap,” the company said. Allen previously worked as a technology leadership consultant at Datec. He has also served as the chief information officer for A.K.A. Brands, director of portfolio technology at Summit Partners, and has held senior technology roles at Zulily, Drugstore.com and Costco.
Additionally, Mark McClendon has joined Moda as senior vice president of global marketing and sales. He was vice president of media and marketing strategy for the Neiman Marcus Group. McClendon succeeds Patrick Emanuel, the former vice president of marketing and e-commerce strategy, but McClendon’s role is new and expanded to include oversight of the sales organization.
As reported, Moda recently secured investment from G Squared and existing investors New Enterprise Associates and Andrés Santo Domingo. Moda said, at the time, that the kitty would ensure it was “well positioned as the company moves forward with a renewed focus on its mission to be the leading curated luxury lifestyle platform for women.” The company did not disclosed the amount of the new investment round. Also, Gordon Brothers with Consensus extended Moda a $13 million term loan which helped get the new investments. Aside from the new investment, Moda has raised $345 million in equity capital.
Moda is challenged by intense competition from the websites of Saks, Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus, as well as Mytheresa, Net-a-porter and Matchesfashion. The company generates somewhere between $150 million and $200 million in sales, according to sources.
In addition to Gold recruiting top executives to work with, Moda has been rebuilding its board of directors. Since January 2021, Moda has added to the board Gold, as well Alexander Tisch, copresident of Loews Hotels; Kamil Ali Jackson, cofounder and chief legal officer of Aclaris Therapeutics, and Jae Goodman, former chief creative officer and co-head of Creative Artists Agency Marketing and founder and CEO of Observatory.
The other board members are Moda founder Lauren Santo Domingo; Chris Evison, managing director of Quadrant Capital Advisors, and Tony Florence, general partner of New Enterprise Associates.
Moda, founded in 2010, sells more than 1,000 brands across fashion, fine jewelry and home in 125 countries. Moda has more than 200 employees, ships to 125 countries and has three showrooms, in New York, London and Hong Kong. A distinguishing feature of the website is that it allows users to order clothes directly off the runways of fashion week with certain collections.
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