Lowe’s chief marketing officer Marisa Thalberg has left the retailer as part of a broader reorganization, the company said Tuesday. The home improvement retailer cut her role and moved its marketing team under Bill Boltz, executive vice president of merchandising. Thalberg previously reported directly to CEO Marvin Ellison.
Such shakeups have gained steam as stimulus check-fueled spending wanes and some consumers pull back on discretionary purchases because of inflation. For some companies, particularly major pandemic beneficiaries such as Peloton, it has meant a sudden and dramatic drop in sales.
Thalberg’s departure is part of a growing wave of leadership changes in the retail industry. Gap, GameStop and Bed Bath & Beyond are among the other retailers who have lost C-suite executives.
Lowe’s, too, has seen a slowdown. Its same-store sales have declined in the past two quarters. The company said it now expects total and comparable sales for the year toward the bottom of its outlook range. It had forecast sales of $97 billion to $99 billion and comparable sales to be down 1% to up 1%.
Thalberg stepped into the role in February 2020, a month before the pandemic began and fueled a surge of home improvement spending. She oversaw several high-profile campaigns, including TV commercials on ESPN during the NFL Draft, and an expanded effort to capitalize on the holiday season. Prior to joining Lowe’s, she was Taco Bell’s global chief brand officer and worked for Estee Lauder, Unilever Cosmetics International and Revlon.
Lowe’s tapped the advertising executive to woo customers as the retailer overhauled its broader business and went more head-to-head with larger rival Home Depot. Led by Ellison, who joined Lowe’s in 2018, the home improvement retailer has relaunched its website, debuted a new loyalty program to chase home professionals’ dollars and expanded its merchandise mix to include exercise equipment, pet supplies and more home decor.
It wanted to refresh its image, too, and tapped Thalberg to oversee that. At the time of her hire, Ellison said Lowe’s hired her to put a more modern spin on Lowe’s marketing approach, such as personalizing messages on social media for customers instead of relying on traditional channels such as TV and radio. Thalberg could not be immediately reached for comment.
Its business that caters to home professionals, such as electricians and contractors, will now be under store operations. Tony Hurst, a senior vice president who oversees Lowe’s pro business, will now report to Joe McFarland, Lowe’s executive vice president of stores. He previously reported directly to Ellison.
Lowe’s said Thalberg’s departure is one of several companywide changes that took effect Friday. It said all changes are meant “to improve alignment across the business and position Lowe’s for success.”
Lowe’s CMO role has not been filled. Instead, Lowe’s has promoted Jen Wilson as senior vice president of enterprise brand and marketing, and she will report to Boltz. Shares of Lowe’s are down about 25% so far this year, closing Tuesday at $192.96.
Its online team, which previously was under Boltz’s leadership, will now be under the technology team instead of the merchandising team. Mike Shady, senior vice president of online, will report directly to Lowe’s chief digital and information officer Seemantini Godbole.