Crate and Barrel CEO Neela Montgomery to Step Down
Crate and Barrel announced last week that CEO Neela Montgomery will step down from her role on Aug. 1 "to pursue new opportunities." The retailer said in a press release that Montgomery informed the board late last year of her decision, and her successor will be named "shortly." Montgomery stepped into the CEO role in the summer of 2017. Prior to that she served as a member of the executive board of the Otto Group, the parent company of Crate and Barrel, where she led the group's multichannel retail strategy. Montgomery is the third CEO at the company to step down in the past six years.
Total Retail's Take: Montgomery has been lauded in the industry for helping Crate and Barrel shift its focus and become a true omnichannel retailer by overseeing the seamless integration of offline and online channels. As CEO, Montgomery led the expansion of the CB2 brand (Crate and Barrel's brand that focuses on furniture and decor for modern homes); the acquisition of Hudson Grace (a company that crafts and sources original and vintage objects for the home.); the launch of Crate and Barrel's first full-service restaurant concept, The Table at Crate; and more.
In addition, Montgomery has led Crate and Barrel during the current coronavirus pandemic. During a recent Women in Retail and Total Retail Virtual Lounge, for example, she discussed how Crate and Barrel was successfully navigating the crisis. Montgomery was also featured in Women in Retail Leadership Circle's 2019 Top Women in Retail list. In an interview for that issue, when asked about what advice she would have given herself when she started in the retail industry, Montgomery said that while she chose to take a nonlinear career path that has been defined more by learning than upward progression, she would have advised herself to "seek global experiences, to get as much as I could when I could. I also would have told myself to not only embrace technology, but also learn about it from the best."