Foot Locker, Inc. announced that, as part of a planned succession process, Richard Johnson will retire as president and chief executive officer, effective September 1. Mary N. Dillon, former executive chair and CEO of Ulta Beauty, Inc., has been appointed president and chief executive officer and a member of the Foot Locker Board, also effective September 1.
Johnson will continue as executive chairman of the Board through January 31, 2023, and will step down from the Board at that time, remaining with the company as a senior advisor to Dillon until early April 2023 to facilitate a smooth transition.
The Board determined that the chair and chief executive officer roles would be separated, effective September 1, 2022, and the company’s Lead Independent Director, Dona D. Young, will become its non-executive chair, effective February 1, 2023.
Johnson has had a three-decade-long career at Foot Locker, including serving as the company’s CEO since 2014, following two years as COO and holding multiple divisional leadership roles.
During Johnson’s tenure, he has led the development of the company’s strategic imperatives and long-term plan; overseen sales growth to approximately $9 billion in 2021 from approximately $7 billion in 2014;
responsible for investments and acquisitions, including WSS and Atmos in 2021; led Foot Locker’s digital transformation and strategy, expanding into new geographies, diversified its product mix across brands and categories; and strengthened the company’s focus on DEI and ESG initiatives.
“It has been a privilege and an honor to lead Foot Locker and work alongside the best team in retail for nearly 30 years,” said Johnson. “Together, we have built a broad house of brands and banners fueled by a shared passion for the global sneaker community. We have turned a brick-and-mortar company into an interactive retail community poised for long-term growth in the digital era. The Board and I have worked closely together on a thoughtful succession plan, and with a strong foundation in place and ongoing momentum against our strategic objectives, we believe now is the right time to complete the CEO transition. We are confident that Mary is the ideal person to serve as Foot Locker’s next CEO and lead the company forward. Mary has established a remarkable track record in the retail industry, and she brings an incredible mix of talent, experience and commitment to take Foot Locker to the next level.”
Dillon said, “I am thrilled to be joining Foot Locker, an iconic company that possesses a strong set of values and focuses on the customer experience as well as tremendous growth opportunities. It is clear how Foot Locker sits at the heart of the global sport and sneaker community, and I am excited to become part of the company’s team. I look forward to working closely with Dick to ensure a smooth transition and to partnering with the Board, leadership team and nearly 50,000 team members around the world to build on Foot Locker’s strong foundation and help shape the company’s future.”
Young noted, “On behalf of the Board and the entire Foot Locker team, I extend our deepest gratitude to Dick for his dedication, leadership and outstanding contributions. It has truly been an honor and a privilege serving on the Board with Dick. He has left an indelible mark on the business, organization and sneaker community, and we wish him only the best on his well-deserved retirement from the company and the next chapter of his life’s journey. Looking forward, we are unanimous in our belief that Mary will be a tremendous addition to Foot Locker’s dynamic and diverse leadership team. Mary’s experience leading consumer-driven businesses and building robust brand portfolios, along with her commitment to culture, is deeply aligned with Foot Locker’s priorities and strategy.”
Young added, “Today’s Board and leadership transitions are the culmination of a multi-year succession planning process which mirrors our track record of active planning for board succession and adherence to governance best practices. We are confident this will be a smooth transition as the Board and leadership team continue to focus on driving value for all Foot Locker stakeholders.”
Dillon is a 35-year veteran of leading consumer-driven businesses in diverse industries, from consumer-packaged goods to restaurants to telecom to beauty and retail. She brings deep consumer marketing and digital transformation expertise, strong operational experience, a proven track record of shareholder value creation, and a demonstrated commitment to leadership development.
Most recently, Dillon served as executive chair of Ulta Beauty after serving as CEO for eight years and was responsible for guiding the company as a leading beauty destination in the U.S. and as a successful omni-channel retailer; this led to a revenue CAGR of 16 percent and the tripling of the company’s market capitalization over her tenure. Previously, Dillon was president, CEO and a member of the Board of Directors of U.S. Cellular, the global chief marketing officer of McDonald’s Corp., and held leadership roles at PepsiCo. Dillon also has extensive public company board experience.
Photo courtesy WSJ/Mary Dillon