Sears Canada names retail veteran Carrie Kirkman to new role as president

TORONTO – Sears Canada Inc. (TSX:SCC) has hired a veteran of the Canadian retail industry to be its president and chief merchant — a new position created to restore shoppers’ confidence in the struggling department store operator.

Carrie Kirkman has most recently been interim president of shoe retailer Nine West Canada and was president of Jones Apparel Group from October 2010 until last April.

Kirkman will work with Brandon G. Stranzl, who has been executive chairman of Sears Canada since the departure of Ronald Boire, who was chief executive and president of the troubled Canadian department store company for less than a year.

Boire was the third president-CEO to leave the company suddenly in recent years, following Douglas Campbell in September 2014 and Calvin McDonald in September 2013.

The company said Tuesday it has adopted a different management structure that takes advantage of Stranzl’s expertise in finances and corporate turnarounds and Kirkman’s experience in merchandising.

“The decision to bring Carrie to Sears Canada was the result of careful deliberation by both myself and the board of directors,” Stranzl said in a statement.

“We created the president and chief merchant role to enable the management team to refine and enhance the customer experience and restore Sears Canada’s core retail business to a position of envy in the Canadian retail landscape, while maintaining a disciplined approach to capital allocation and profitability.”

Kirkman has previously held senior roles at Sears rival Hudson’s Bay Co. (TSX:HBC) from 2002-2010, and Liz Claiborne Canada from 1997-2002, where she managed fashion brands such as DKNY, Liz Claiborne and Kenneth Cole. Early in her career, Kirkman represented the Alfred Sung and Ports International brands.

Sears Canada is a general merchandise retailer with a network of 166 corporate stores, 177 affiliated Hometown stores, more than 1,200 merchandise pickup locations, and repair and service network.

Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version had an incorrect name for Brandon G. Stranzl.