BJ's Wholesale Club on Friday said that it has appointed Christopher J. Baldwin president and CEO, succeeding Laura J. Sen, who is assuming the role of non-executive chairman. The appointment is effective Feb. 1.
Baldwin will assume responsibility for the ongoing operations of the Westborough, Mass., company, while Sen will join BJ's other board members in setting the long term strategic direction of the company. Baldwin joined BJ's in August as president and COO from Hess Retail, where he served as CEO. He is a former executive with Nabisco, Hershey and Procter & Gamble.
Sen has served BJ's for more than 25 years and has been its CEO since 2009, when she succeeded Herb Zarkin.
"I am grateful to have spent over 25 years with this great company, and feel privileged to have led it for the last seven," Sen said in a statement. "I am proud of what our team has accomplished together during these many years. I believe BJ's is operationally strong and well positioned for continued success. In a very short period Chris has demonstrated the necessary vision and leadership to take BJ's to the next level. Together we have laid out a strategy for the company that will serve us for many years to come, and I believe now is the right time for Chris to assume his place as leader of BJ's."
Under Sen, publicly traded BJ's was sold to private equity firms CVC Capital Partners and Leonard Green & Associates in 2011.
"I am humbled and excited by this opportunity to lead BJ's," Baldwin said. "This is both a challenging time for retail and one full of opportunity. Our guide over the next several years will be a vision that is steadfastly focused on offering a distinctive shopping experience and deep value proposition to BJ's millions of loyal members. With the support of BJ's team members, I look forward to leading our company to even higher levels of achievement."
Cameron Breitner, partner of CVC Capital, said, "We are extremely grateful for Laura's leadership over the past several years and her many contributions to BJ's success. Chris is an inspired leader and his broad experiences qualify him to step in to this role. He is well-respected within BJ's and across the industry, and his personal style fits well with the company's core values."
Jonathan Seiffer, senior partner at Leonard Green, said "Thanks to Laura's leadership and vision, BJ's has been a highly successful investment since our take-private transaction in 2011. Our firm has a deep history of investing in outstanding retail businesses, and we are confident that Chris will build on the strong foundation that will be Laura's legacy."
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