Christopher J. Baldwin, president and chief executive officer of BJ’s Wholesale Club, on Tuesday was elected chairman of the National Retail Federation board of directors. Eight other retailers and retail partners were also elected to the board, the organization said.
While retailers celebrated the recent holiday period with the biggest sales gains since the recession, at 5.6 percent, Baldwin will serve at a time when the industry is in turmoil, overstored, lagging behind other sectors in adopting technology and rushing to adapt to consumers’ changing buying habits.
Baldwin, who will serve a two-year term, was elected during the board’s annual winter meeting in New York, which is part of NRF 2018: Retail’s Big Show at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. He succeeds executive chairman Terry J. Lundgren, who assumed the role of NRF chairman in July after former HSNi ceo Mindy Grossman resigned from the board to head Weight Watchers.
“Chris Baldwin is one of the top thought leaders in retail and is well-positioned to guide NRF through the rapid transformation facing our industry as consumers discover new ways to shop and merchants find new ways to serve their customers,” NRF president and ceo Matthew Shay said. “NRF and the entire industry will benefit from his experience and insights. The new members of our board are also among the best in the business, and we look forward to their help in addressing the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.”
“I’m honored to help lead NRF during such rapid changes in the retail industry,” Baldwin said. “Retail is a crucial driver of our economy and provides opportunities for millions of workers across the United States. I’m very optimistic about the opportunities ahead of our industry and look forward to working with NRF staff and board members during this period of retail transformation.”
According to reports, CVC Capital Partners and Leonard Green & Partners, which took BJ’s private in 2011 for $2.8 billion, last year were looking to sell the $4.5 billion retailer. There were even rumors that Amazon and Walmart were interested in buying BJ’s, however, neither the e-commerce nor retail giant made a bid. BJ’s operates 214 clubs in 15 states up and down the East Coast.
The eight new board members are: Miki Racine Berardelli, ceo of Kidbox; John Furner, president and ceo, Sam’s Club; Jeff Gennette, ceo, Macy’s Inc.; Mike George, president and ceo, QVC Group; Steve Joyce, ceo, DineEquity; Rachel Mushahwar, general manager, U.S. enterprise, government, SLED and cloud industries, Intel; Eva Press, U.S. group lead, consumer packaged goods, government, health care and retail, Facebook, and Brad Weston, ceo, Petco.