- Business Insider named 10 retail executives to its list of 100 people transforming business.
- They include a CEO assembling a restaurant empire, an exec helping Walmart win, and a founder redefining brands.
- See the full list of the 100 people transforming business here.
Retail is evolving more quickly than ever before.
As shoppers move their spending online and foot traffic to malls declines, legacy retailers have been forced to rethink their strategies, and new companies have sprung up to take advantage of a big opportunity.
With that in mind, Business Insider’s editorial team has assembled a list of the 10 people transforming the retail business.
Profiles compiled by Hayley Peterson, Kate Taylor, Dennis Green, Mary Hanbury, and Áine Cain.
Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon, is setting the tone for buying and selling goods online
Alex Wong/Getty Images
It would be impossible to create a list of movers and shakers in retail and not include Jeff Bezos, the founder and CEO of Amazon.
Bezos has led Amazon on a path that has single-handedly changed the way major companies approach e-commerce, remaining a stalwart presence in conversations about the future of retail taking place in C-suite boardrooms and on trade-show floors.
Amazon’s success has made Bezos the richest man in the world, and it has fueled other exploits in space exploration and venture capital.
But it is still the world of retail where Bezos has made the biggest impact and will likely continue to do so.
With all eyes on Bezos and Amazon, the CEO is preparing to conquer the only place left to go: the physical world. With the 2017 acquisition of Whole Foods and an expansion of the cashierless Amazon Go stores in the works, he is already well on his way.
Paul Brown, the CEO of Inspire Brands, is assembling a restaurant empire
Hollis Johnson/Business Insider
Since becoming Arby’s CEO in 2013, Paul Brown has turned the sandwich chain into a juggernaut and a jumping-off point to create a new company in an era when scale is crucial to the restaurant business.
In 2018, Brown cofounded Inspire Brands, now the parent company of Arby’s, Buffalo Wild Wings, Rusty Taco, and Sonic.
Having saved Arby’s, Brown now looks to grow Sonic and turn around Buffalo Wild Wings. In March, Buffalo Wild Wings’ comeback switched into high gear, with updated menus, new employee uniforms, and the promise of fresh designs.
Brown isn’t slowing. He says that by March 2020, Inspire Brands is more likely to have five or more brands than it is to stay steady at its current four.
"We’ll improve every time we do it," Brown told Business Insider, reflecting on Arby’s turnaround and the plans for Buffalo Wild Wings’ comeback.
Yael Cosset, the chief digital officer at Kroger, is reimagining grocery stores for shoppers of the future
Kroger is working to fend off growing competition from rivals including Walmart, Amazon, and Aldi. Yael Cosset is spearheading Kroger’s digital transformation to meet that challenge.
"We are building a seamless experience to offer our customers anything they want, anytime they want it, anywhere they want it," Cosset told Business Insider.
Kroger has gathered a trove of data from the 12 million families who visit its 2,800 stores daily, and the company is using that information to rapidly expand its distribution network and the many services it offers its customers.
The company now offers online grocery delivery or pickup to 91% of its customers from 1,600 stores, and it plans to expand those services to 2,000 stores by the end of 2019.
Kroger has also added in-store digital shelving that can communicate with shoppers’ smartphones, and it’s working with the UK technology firm Ocado to open automated warehouses capable of fulfilling a 50-item order within minutes.
"We’re going to be able to fulfill these orders in a way nobody else can," Cosset said.
As Kroger’s transformation continues, Cosset’s role is expanding. He will be promoted in May, to chief information officer, from his current role as Kroger’s head of digital.
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- More than 6,100 stores are closing in 2019 as the retail apocalypse drags on — here’s the full list