Pier 1 Imports names new president, CEO

Pier 1 building (Photo courtesy of Burns & McDonnell Engineering Co.)

Pier 1 Imports Inc. has named Alasdair James, 46, as president and CEO, starting May 1.

James comes to Pier 1 from Sears Holdings, where he has been president of Kmart since 2014. He has 15 years of retail experience in the U.S., the United Kingdom and China. He began his career in international marketing and account manager with PepsiCo, then performed similar duties at pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline PLC. He then joined British retailer Tesco PLC, where he was executive vice president and commercial director of Tesco China.

“I look forward to working with such an accomplished executive team who have, over the past five years, successfully transformed the company to a fully functional omni-channel business,” he said. “The company’s exceptional brand recognition, loyal customer base and special and deeply-rooted company culture provide a strong platform for future success. I believe there is a significant opportunity in front of us to continue to transform the business and drive growth and shareholder value in today’s quickly evolving retail landscape.”

James will take the CEO and presidential titles from Board Chairman Terry E. London who has been interim president and CEO since the end of the year. London will continue as Pier 1’s board chairman.

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London took over for former CEO Alex Smith who left at the end of 2016, following nearly a decade in that position.

“In our search for a new leader to navigate Pier 1 Imports through this challenging and exciting retail environment, our board sought an innovative, customer-centric and proven leader with a visionary perspective,” said London. “Alasdair comes to us with the strong, consumer-focused background, track record of success and strategic capability we were seeking. We are thrilled to have him join Pier 1 Imports to lead our future success.

“With more than 15 years of retail and consumer goods experience in the U.S., U.K. and China, Alasdair has the expertise and global operating skills necessary to drive long-term success for our brand. He is a proven leader in the consumer space, broadly-skilled in sales, marketing, brand management and data analytics, with a track record of implementing consumer-facing initiatives to transform businesses in tough environments while driving operational improvement.”

Specialty retailer Pier 1, like many retailers has gone through some rough patches lately, but a recent report on preliminary fiscal fourth quarter results beat expectations, indicating the company’s discounts and cost cutting have paid off.

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Kmart is a wholly owned subsidiary of Illinois-based Sears Holding Corp. Sears last month reported a fourth-quarter loss of $607 million, or $5.67 per share. – The Associated Press contributed to this report.