January 10, 2017, 2:28 PM

Nordstrom adds a chief innovation officer while its Trunk Club CEO exits

Trunk Club founder Brian Spaly’s responsibilities will be taken on by NordstromRack.com and HauteLook president Terry Boyle.

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Nordstrom Inc. is making a number of executive changes as it pushes to better integrate its online and store operations.

Trunk Club founder and CEO Brian Spaly has “chosen to depart” the men’s and women’s e-retailer, Nordstrom said Monday. The retailer also promoted Nordstrom Rack president Geevy Thomas to be its first chief innovation officer, where he’ll be responsible for bridging the gap between the retailer’s online, mobile and store experiences, the retails says. Replacing Thomas will be Karen McKibbin, who the retailer promoted to president of Nordstrom Rack from president of Nordstrom Canada. Filling McKibbin’s role is Michelle Haggard, who becomes vice president, regional manager for Canada; she previously was vice president in the Southeast region.

Rather than name a successor for Spaly, Nordstrom, No. 18 in the Internet Retailer 2016 Top 500 Guide, said Monday that his responsibilities will be handled by NordstromRack.com and HauteLook president Terry Boyle. The move comes two months after Nordstrom announced it would take a $197 million write-down on Trunk Club and three months after Nordstrom announced it would begin charging Trunk Club shoppers a $25 try-on fee. At Trunk Club, which Nordstrom acquired in 2014 for $350 million, consumers send their fashion preferences to stylists via email, Skype or phone, and then receive monthly shipments—“trunks”—of clothing selected for them. Customers keep the items they like and send back the ones they don’t.

"Terry comes into this role with a tremendous amount of knowledge about Trunk Club, having served on its advisory board since it was acquired by Nordstrom in 2014,” co-president Erik Nordstrom says. “His unique track record in taking startup businesses, building them to scale and supporting their growth, both in and outside of Nordstrom, will enable him to support Trunk Club and the leadership team there during this critical time for that business."

Nordstrom’s off-price online business, which Boyle oversees, is growing fast. Through the first nine months of 2016, Nordstrom reported sales through NordstromRack.com and HauteLook of $482 million, up 32.8% from $363 million last year, compared to a 10.3% year-over-year online sales growth through its flagship Nordstrom.com.

Of the newly created chief innovation officer, Erik Nordstrom says Thomas and his group “will lead the most forward-looking customer-centric effort that Nordstrom has taken on to date. The way customers are choosing to shop in a more digitally-connected world continues to change, and we know we need to find ways for our stores to evolve with them. This is a challenge, but we also see a tremendous opportunity to leverage our stores in ways that will allow us to serve customers into the future better than anyone else.”

The latest executive changes follow Nordstrom’s September announcement that Ken Worzel would become president of Nordstrom.com, a new title. The retailer at the time also shifted the responsibilities of its co-presidents. Erik Nordstrom took over the Nordstrom brand, including Nordstrom stores, Nordstrom.com and Trunk Club, in addition to customer care, marketing and supply chain. Co-president Blake Nordstrom became responsible for the Nordstrom Rack brand, including Rack stores and NordstromRack.com/HauteLook, and co-president Pete Nordstrom continued his role in Nordstrom’s merchandising functions and store planning.

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