DICK'S Sporting Goods on Tuesday announced that its current president, Lauren Hobart, will succeed Ed Stack as chief executive on Feb. 1, reports CNBC. Stack will transition to executive chairman and remain chief merchant, the company said. Following stints at PepsiCo, Wells Fargo, and JPMorgan, Hobart joined DICK'S in February 2011 as senior vice president and chief marketing officer. In 2015, she was promoted to executive vice president and CMO, and then chief customer and digital officer. She was named president in May 2017, and has served on the board since January 2018.
More recently, Hobart has made the women’s athletic apparel and footwear market a bigger focus at DICK'S Sporting Goods, helping to drive the launch of additional private labels. She has helped DICK'S Sporting Goods refocus its strategy to compete against the likes of Amazon.com and Walmart, as a number of its sporting goods rivals — such as Sports Authority, Sport Chalet and City Sports — have filed for bankruptcy and shuttered stores in recent years. Hobart has helped the company refocus its inventories on key categories like youth sports, improve customer service, and add in-store experiences like batting cages, to offer shoppers something they cannot find online.
Total Retail's Take: DICK'S Sporting Goods decision to name Lauren Hobart its new president and chief executive officer is a testament to the success she's driven at the company and promises future growth. According to a press release, since joining DICK'S, Hobart has revamped the company's marketing efforts and helped drive its robust e-commerce strategy, among other substantive growth initiatives. Hobart has enhanced the company's exceptional customer service offering and improved the omnichannel customer experience.
"This is the perfect time for this transition," said Stack, noting that Hobart "has proven herself to be a capable, innovative and respected leader who has helped drive our business and our culture."
In times such as now, when e-commerce is booming and the role of brick-and-mortar is evolving, a focus on omnichannel initiatives is paying dividends for prepared retailers. According to CNBC, the focus for DICK’S during the pandemic has been on driving sales online and encouraging shoppers to use its in-store pickup option for e-commerce purchases. The sporting goods retailer said its stores fulfilled about 70 percent of its digital purchases during the third quarter, and these efforts and investments should continue as Hobart takes the reins in early 2021.
It's also worth noting that with the appointment, Hobart will be the 41st woman chief in the Fortune 500; the first female CEO of a major sporting goods retailer; DICK'S Sporting Goods’ second-ever chief executive; and, consequently, the sporting goods company's first female CEO as well.
Kristina Stidham is the digital content manager at Total Retail and sister brand Women in Retail Leadership Circle. She is passionate about digital media and handles social media, video, and podcast production for both brands, as well as contributing articles and attending events. Kristina holds a B.A. in Media Studies and Production from the Temple University Klein College of Media and Communication in Philadelphia.