The National Retail Federation on Thursday named Cristina Ceresoli, a former Express executive, as senior vice president for retail strategy.

As vice president of marketing and public relations at Express, Ceresoli managed the retailer’s content marketing practice, including consumer experience, data-driven insights and communications evolution.

“At a time of great challenge and opportunity in the retail industry, Cristina’s background, knowledge and expertise in retail — particularly in consumer behavior patterns that drive brand advocacy in an omnichannel world — will be invaluable to our organization and to our members,” said NRF president and chief executive officer Matthew Shay. “We’re extremely excited to have Cristina joining the NRF team.”

As senior vice president for retail strategy at the world’s largest retail trade association, Ceresoli will have a broad platform to speak on behalf of the industry and will help guide NRF’s product offering and event content strategy. With her industry experience, she’ll serve as an internal advisor on retail industry operations and strategies and as a member of the management team. She’ll also provide the tools and resources to support the industry’s digital expansion.

“I am truly looking forward to working on behalf of an industry that is dynamic and innovative and leads the experience revolution for the benefit of its employees, customers and the communities it serves,” Ceresoli said. According to the NRF, retail is the country’s largest private sector employer, supporting one in four U.S. jobs or 42 million working Americans. Retail contributes $2.6 trillion to annual GDP.

Ceresoli held other roles at Express, including vice president of e-commerce merchandising. Under her leadership, e-commerce business grew from single-digit penetration to its current 21 percent of sales. She also launched new and exclusive apparel businesses for Express while leading early exploration of content and commerce optimization.

Prior to Express, Ceresoli worked in merchandising roles at Abercrombie & Fitch, Victoria’s Secret and Aéropostale. She began her career at E-Lab, a pioneer in turning firsthand customer insights into innovative products and experiences. She continued that work at Sapient, a leader in digital business transformation, where she helped drive the Internet experience practice, using evolving human behavior to inform innovative business and technology solutions.

Ceresoli earned her MBA at Columbia Business School and was for many years an adjunct professor in the strategic design and management program at The New School’s Parsons School of Design.

Berglass and Associates assisted in the executive search.

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