By Dow Jones Business News,
August 21, 2014, 07:01:00 PM EDT
By Shelly Banjo
Home Depot Inc. named company veteran Craig Menear its new chief executive Thursday, handing him the challenge of
keeping sales growing as the company shifts from building new U.S. stores to investing online.
Mr. Menear, who will take the helm Nov. 1, will become the third CEO to run the country's fourth largest retailer
by revenue after founders Bernie Marcus and Arthur Blank retired. He takes over from Frank Blake, 65 years old, who
helped the company recover from a difficult period of cost cutting under his predecessor, Bob Nardelli, and steered it
through the deep housing crisis.
Mr. Blake oversaw a major renovation effort at the do-it-yourself chain in which he restored employee morale by
refocusing on service and moving workers out of the back rooms and onto the sales floor. He also overhauled the supply-
chain and technology systems to make operations more efficient,
During his tenure, Home Depot's stock rose more than 100%.
Mr. Blake will remain chairman and Mr. Menear, 57 years old, will join the board.
The fix-it chain, which took in $79 billion in revenue last year, is in the midst of transforming its business as
Americans increasingly do their shopping online. To adapt, Home Depot is selling everything from barbecue grills and
patio sets to actual bricks and mortar over the Internet, which now accounts for more than 4% of its sales.
"We need to transform Home Depot to allow customers to shop when, where and how they want to," Mr. Menear said in
an April interview at the company's Atlanta headquarters.
This year, the company plans $1.5 billion in capital expenditures, "tilting investments more toward interconnected
retail and technology as we try to meet the needs of our changing customers," Chief Financial Officer Carol Tome said in
an interview this week.
After decades of building dozens of stores a year, the company has brought new store openings in the U.S. to a
halt. It is also reallocating store space to growing categories like appliances and cleaning supplies.
Mr. Menear, a soft-spoken Michigan native, joined Home Depot in 1997 as a merchant in the chain's Southwest
division and rose through the ranks. More recently, he oversaw the company's fast-growing online business, as well as
the company's merchandising, private-brand, global-sourcing and marketing operations.
The appointment was part of a planned succession. Home Depot began setting up the power transfer in February,
naming Mr. Menear as its U.S. retail president and putting him in charge of most company operations, including its 2,000
At that time, the head of U.S. stores, Marvin Ellison, began reporting to Mr. Menear instead of directly to Mr.
Blake. The CEO appointment settles the top job but raises questions about how long Mr. Ellison and Ms. Tome, both well
regarded executives who were also considered possible successors to Mr. Blake, will remain with the company.
A Home Depot spokesman declined to make any executives available for comment.
Write to Shelly Banjo at shelly.banjo @wsj.com
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