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Shuffle Board: CFO Changes at Alibaba, Torrid, Figs, CEO Move at DHL, Fossil Names SVP, Alba Taps EVPs



Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. announced that Toby Xu, deputy chief financial officer (CFO), will succeed Maggie Wu as the company’s CFO, effective April 1.

Wu will continue as a partner in the Alibaba Partnership and serve as an executive director on the Alibaba board.

Xu joined Alibaba in July 2018 and was appointed deputy CFO in July 2019. Before joining Alibaba Group, he was a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers for 11 years.

Also, in a letter to employees, Alibaba Group chairman and CEO Daniel Zhang outlined his strategy and leadership changes. The newly formed International Digital Commerce will bring together Alibaba’s overseas consumer-facing and wholesale businesses under the leadership of Jiang Fan. In addition, Alibaba veteran Trudy Dai will lead the new China Digital Commerce that combines Alibaba’s consumer-facing and wholesale marketplaces in China.

The International Digital Commerce will include AliExpress, and Lazada, the central business units powering Alibaba’s globalization strategy. In its last quarterly earnings, the company announced its annual active consumers overseas reached 285 million and reiterated its ambitious goal of serving 2 billion consumers globally.

Prior to his new role, Fan, who joined Alibaba in 2013, had been the president of Taobao and Tmall, leading two of Alibaba’s most successful consumer marketplaces in China.

Similar to the international commerce integration, Alibaba also announced the combination of all domestic commerce businesses to foster more collaboration and synergy across business units to better serve its consumers and customers. The company appointed Alibaba veteran Trudy Dai to lead the new China Digital Commerce.

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An Alibaba founding member and partner, Dai has served in various leadership roles within the company over the years. Between 2014 and 2017, Dai was Alibaba’s chief customer officer. Since January 2017, she has served as president of Alibaba’s Industrial E-commerce, including,, AliExpress and Taobao Deals. In March 2021, she became president of Alibaba’s community marketplace Taocaicai.


Torrid Holdings Inc., a direct-to-consumer apparel, intimates and accessories brand in North America, announced that chief financial officer George Wehlitz, has made the decision to retire at the end of the first quarter of fiscal 2022.

Wehlitz will remain in his role through the completion of the company’s fiscal 2021 annual financial filings and will serve as an advisor following his retirement to ensure a smooth transition. Torrid is conducting a search for Wehlitz’s successor.


The International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) announced that its board of trustees elected Glenn Rufrano, former CEO of VEREIT, to serve as chairman and Pat Donahue as vice chairman for the 2022 term.

Rufrano succeeds John R. Morrison as ICSC’s 62nd chairman. Prior to VEREIT, Rufrano served as the chairman and CEO of O’Connor Capital Partners and was among the founders of O’Connor in 1983.

Donahue currently serves as the co-founder of Donahue Casey Realty Advisors. He is the former chairman and CEO of Donahue Schriber Realty Group.

ICSC promotes and elevates the marketplaces and spaces where people shop, dine, work, play and gather as foundational and vital ingredients of communities and economies.

Urban Outfitters

Urban Outfitters Inc., which operates a portfolio of global consumer brands comprised of the Anthropologie, BHLDN, Free People, FP Movement, Terrain, Urban Outfitters, Nuuly Rent, Nuuly Thrift and Menus & Venues brands, announced that it had expanded the size of its board from 10 to 11 and elected Kelly Campbell as a director.

Prior to her current role as president of Peacock, Campbell served as president and chief marketing officer of Hulu, where she played a key role in accelerating the service’s growth and momentum.


Global management consulting firm Kearney announced that Michelle Kluz joined the firm as a new partner in the Consumer and Retail Practice.

Over the past couple of years, Kluz held several advisory and interim CEO roles, including running retail for Ascend Wellness Holdings, a multi-state cannabis operator. In 2018, she launched Urban Savage, a self-financed luxury activewear label.



Fossil Group Inc., a global design, marketing, distribution and innovation company, announced that Melissa Lowenkron will join the company as senior vice president and general manager for the Fossil brand.

In this newly created role, Lowenkron will be responsible for brand strategy, product design and marketing. She previously spent more than two decades with the Neiman Marcus Group, most recently as senior vice president and general merchandise manager at Neiman Marcus, she led the handbag and accessories, women’s footwear, jewelry and beauty businesses.

With this appointment, Steve Evans, executive vice president and chief brand officer, will focus all of his efforts on growing Fossil Group’s other owned and licensed brands.


Figs Inc., a direct-to-consumer healthcare apparel and lifestyle brand, announced that Jeffrey Lawrence, its chief financial officer (CFO), has decided to retire, effective Dec. 24.

Lawrence joined Figs in December 2020, coming out of retirement to help lead the company’s initial public offering earlier this year. Figs said Daniella Turenshine, senior vice president of finance and strategy, was appointed CFO, effective Dec. 24.

Turenshine joined Figs in 2018 and led the finance team for over two years before Lawrence joined the company and continued to serve on the senior executive team and as a leader on the finance team. Prior to Figs, she served as vice president at Garnett Station Partners, a growth-oriented investment firm.


XSET, a lifestyle gaming organization, announced that Steve Birkhold has joined as the company as chief merchandise and licensing officer.

In his new role, Birkhold will bring his expertise, vast knowledge and skills to bear on XSET’s fashion division. XSET co-founder Wil Eddins, who previously held the role, will move into the new position of chief creative officer, where he will oversee all creative strategy for the company.

Birkhold joins XSET with experience leading brands like Diesel, Lacoste and Bebe and more than a decade of senior management roles at VF Corp. focusing on Lee Jeans, Nautica Jeans and Earl Jeans.

In addition to his executive role at XSET, Birkhold will serve on XSET’s advisory board, leveraging his expertise, knowledge and skill across fashion-related initiatives and different verticals.



Alibaba, Torrid and Figs named new CFOs, DHL announced a CEO succession plan and Melissa Lowenkron was named Fossil brand SVP and GM.
Tobias Meyer Courtesy

DHL Group has initiated a leadership transition at the top of the company.

The supervisory board has extended Frank Appel’s contract as Group CEO until May 4, 2023. His previous contract ran until Oct. 31, 2022.

Tobias Meyer will take over as CEO after that. Meyer joined the company in 2013 and has held a wide variety of positions including most recently CEO of Post & Parcel Germany and a member of the DHL management board since March 2019.

Meyer will take over the corporate function global business services from Appel in July 2022 and hand over his role as CEO of Post & Parcel Germany to Nikola Hagleitner, currently chief sales officer at Post & Parcel Germany. Hagleitner has been with the company since 2005 and has worked in three of its five divisions.

In addition, the board has extended the contract with Oscar de Bok, CEO of DHL Supply Chain, for another five years to Sept. 30, 2027.

Alba Wheels Up

Alba Wheels Up added Brenda Custer-Espeleta as its new executive vice president of customs and trade compliance.

Espeleta is a licensed customs broker and certified customs specialist. Previously, she was vice president of customs compliance at Flexport, a global full-service logistics company.

Alba Wheels Up also hired Michael Pearson as executive vice president of operations. Prior to joining Alba Wheels Up, Pearson was vice president of the Americas for B&H Worldwide, where he led teams in sales, operations and finance.

Alba is a logistics company providing customs brokerage, freight forwarding and other supply chain services for importers and exporters across diverse sectors, including apparel, pharmaceuticals, industrial, and food and drugs. The company primarily operates out of its headquarters in Valley Stream, N.Y., and has offices in California, New Jersey and Texas.