BevMo! and Michaels Announce New CEOs

Jamie Grill-Goodman
Editor in Chief
Jamie goodman
Josiah Knutsen (left) has been appointed to succeed Dimitri Haloulos (front) as president and CEO of the California-based beverage retailer BevMo!

The Michaels Companies and BevMo! both announced new CEOs to end 2019.  

West Coast beverage retailer BevMo! named senior vice president of merchandising, Josiah Knutsen, the company's president and CEO, effective December 27th.  He succeeds Dimitri Haloulos who has led the company over the past four years.

Knutsen joined BevMo! in 2018 to run all aspects of the retailer's merchandising for its beer, wine, spirits and other business lines.  Before joining BevMo!, he spent 17 years at Safeway and then the Albertsons Companies following the mergers of those two companies in 2015.  Just prior to leaving the company, he held the title of senior vice president of marketing and merchandising for the Northern California division, where he had direct P&L responsibility for nearly 300 stores.

Haloulos will return to the consumer packaged goods industry where he started his career. During his tenure at BevMo!, he revamped the company's purchasing, pricing, supply chain and e-commerce operations, while implementing a number of initiatives that greatly enhanced the customer experience. 

"On behalf of the board and TowerBrook Capital Partners, I want to thank Dimitri for his exceptional leadership over the past four years,” said Cathy Stauffer, chairman of BevMo!'s board. “He has helped transform the company into an omnichannel 'shopper first' retailer while building a strong leadership team focused on sustainable growth. Josiah is an innovative, results-driven leader with a relentless focus on understanding and fulfilling customer expectations. Over the past year, his insight and strategic vision have been highly impactful, and we are confident that as CEO he will build on the company's strong foundation and continue to drive innovation.”

In succeeding Haloulos, Knutsen will continue to build upon the company's key strategic pillars to deliver exceptional value in a convenient and fun-to-shop environment.

"Since joining BevMo! I have been inspired every single day by the passion, hard work and dedication of our store associates and service center employees.  We are in position to make significant leaps forward over the next several years, and I am very excited to lead – and accelerate – that growth," said Knutsen.

In addition, BevMo! also announced that chief accounting officer and acting CFO, Denise Rowan, has been named chief financial officer, effective Dec. 30.

"A true BevMo! veteran with over 20 years of service, Denise's financial acumen and passionate leadership make her uniquely qualified to serve as our chief financial officer and lead us into the future, alongside Josiah as CEO," said Stauffer.

Ashley Buchanan

Meanwhile, The Michaels Companies announced that Ashley Buchanan, a retail executive from Walmart, has been named president and chief executive officer designate and appointed to the company’s board, effective January 6, 2020. He will succeed Mark Cosby as CEO upon completion of a transition period ending April 1, 2020. Cosby will continue to serve as CEO until April 1, 2020 and will remain a member of the board following the transition.

As part of the leadership transition, the company also announced that after more than five years at Michaels in various finance roles, CFO Denise Paulonis has accepted a position at another company and will depart January 31, 2020.

“It has been an honor to lead Michaels and to help the company clearly define its core customer and develop a strategy centered on the makers,” said Cosby. “I am excited to welcome Ashley as his impressive skills and extensive experience make him uniquely suited to lead Michaels into its long and bright future. He brings innovative thinking and a wealth of merchandising and digital expertise that will help us engage our makers and deliver unique crafting experiences. Finally, I would like to thank Denise for her financial and executive leadership, and we wish her well as she pursues this new opportunity.”

Buchanan joined Walmart in 2007 and has served in various roles of increased leadership and responsibility across the company. Most recently he was chief merchandising and chief operating officer for Walmart U.S. e-commerce. Prior to joining the U.S. e-commerce team, he was the chief merchant at Sam’s Club where he led a merchandising team and oversaw activities including assortment, private brand strategy, pricing, global sourcing, packaging, replenishment and supply chain. He also previously served in a broad set of senior merchandising roles at Walmart. Buchanan joined Walmart from Dell where he held a variety of positions in finance, after spending five years at Accenture focused on the retail industry. He earned a Bachelor of Business Administration in finance and real estate as well as a Master of Business Administration from Baylor University.

“Michaels is an iconic brand, and I am excited about the tremendous opportunity we have in front of us to reimagine and redefine the experience of our makers,” said Buchanan. “I believe we can engage them in innovative new ways and unleash the power of their inner maker. Our community is unique, and I am thrilled about the opportunity to lead our makers centered strategy and help take Michaels to a whole new level.”

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