Local ShoppingBath & Body Works CFO stepping down this summer

Bath & Body Works CFO stepping down this summer

Dive Brief:

  • Bath & Body Works CFO Wendy Arlin will leave her position by July 29, the company announced Thursday. A search firm has been retained to help identify the next person for the role and Arlin will vacate the position sooner if a successor is named, the company said.
  • Thilina Gunasinghe will become chief digital and technology officer, effective April 17. In the newly created role, Gunasinghe will lead Bath & Body Works’ digital and technology strategy, digital operations, data and analytics, and transformation.
  • Bath & Body Works created another new position, chief customer officer, and has begun a search to fill it. The company said this person’s responsibilities will include “growing and retaining Bath & Body Works’ passionate customer base through the development of a personalized, connected, and compelling end-to-end customer experience.”

Dive Insight:

Bath & Body Works is entering the spring with leadership changes and newly created positions.

Arlin became CFO in August 2021. Before that position, she was senior vice president of finance and corporate controller for L Brands. In that capacity, she oversaw various functions, including corporate finance, accounting, payroll, and real estate and store design finance, according to a corporate biography.

In the company’s announcement, CEO Gina Boswell said Arlin was a key member of the team that led the successful spinoff from the Victoria’s Secret business, which established Bath & Body Works as a stand-alone public company.

While the statement does not give any information about Arlin’s next move after leaving the company, regulatory filings show Arlin is being terminated without cause and will receive a severance payment.

Gunasinghe is also filling a newly created position. He’s joining the company from McDonald’s, where he was the global vice president, chief technology architect and data officer. In that capacity, he led the restaurant corporation’s international customer, digital and restaurant technology architecture. His priorities will include advancing digital capabilities and unlocking the potential of the company’s omnichannel model.

President Julie Rosen, who joined the company in September 2020, will continue in her role and have responsibility for all channels of the business – stores, e-commerce and international — and all product functions, including merchandising, design, planning and allocation. Rosen will also oversee the store design and new business opportunities teams.

“Adding a dedicated chief digital and technology officer and chief customer officer to our leadership team structure will help refine our focus as we work to expand our customer base, elevate our brand, further strengthen customer loyalty and ultimately drive growth and profitability,” Boswell said.

The personal care and candle retailer recently said it wants to reshape its store footprint to grow in off-mall locations. Bath & Body Works said earlier this year it wants to close about 50 mall locations but open 90 off-mall stores.

For the year ending Jan. 28, 2023, Bath & Body Works reported a 4% decrease in net sales to $7.56 billion, down from $7.88 billion the previous year. While the company has not yet reported Q1 earnings, its most recent guidance is muted. First-quarter net sales are likely to decline in the low- to mid-single digits compared to $1.45 billion in 2022. For the full year, Bath & Body Works forecasts flat net sales to a mid-single-digit decline from 2022.

Bath & Body Works “is clearly in transition,” Wells Fargo analysts led by Ike Boruchow said in a Thursday note. The analysts cited sales contractions, margins under pressure, the company’s investments following its separation from Victoria’s Secret “and many new executives.”

In addition to Gunasinghe, Rosen and the new chief customer officer, the company’s executive team members include Tom Mazurek, chief supply chain officer; Bruce Mosier, executive vice president for logistics; Deon Riley, chief human resources officer; and Michael Wu, chief legal officer. All report directly to Boswell, who has led the company since December.

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