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Struggling Retailers Seek “Silver Bullet CEOs”

It’s not just on the sales floor or loading dock  – C-suite vacancies are also proving hard to fill.




iStock, seb_ra iStock, seb_ra

At the end of December 2022, roughly one million retail jobs were open, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported. But an even more critical labor shortage has arisen at the pinnacle of the jobs pyramid, Forbes reports: the lack of CEOs, especially at struggling retailers.

Among the companies with corner-office vacancies to fill are VF, Adidas, Calvin Klein, Puma, Designer Brands, The RealReal, Stitch Fix and Rite Aid, the business publication reports.

Pandemic disruptions and their immediate aftermath have resulted in the current bumper crop of retail CEO vacancies. But major retailers may find a greater need to overhaul their C-suite as future events unfold.

“Boards of challenged retailers are looking for a ‘silver bullet CEO’ who has instant credibility with the Street,” Catherine Lepard, Managing Partner of Global Retail as executive search firm Heidrick and Struggles, told Forbes. “Every company is competing for the rarified CEO with an excellent track record. But that pool is small, and there’s not much incentive for some of these CEOs to leave their high-performing companies to do something messy.”

Click here for the full Forbes report.




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