BJ’s Wholesale Club has tapped Bob Eddy as president and CEO following the sudden death of Lee Delaney on April 8.
Westborough, Mass.-based BJ’s announced the appointment late Monday. Eddy, previously executive vice president and chief administrative and financial officer, had served as interim CEO since April 9, when the company announced Delaney’s passing.
Published reports said that the 49-year-old Delaney, an avid runner, died of a heart attack while out for a run. He had served as president and CEO since Feb. 2, 2019, taking over from Christopher Baldwin, who became executive chairman.
“Bob’s leadership, strategic vision and deep knowledge of the business have been pivotal in driving BJ’s Wholesale Club’s transformation and record growth across all key metrics,” Baldwin said in a statement. “We delivered industry-leading results this past year and made significant progress on each of our long-term strategic pillars under Lee’s leadership, and we’ll continue to honor his legacy. Looking ahead, the board and I are confident that Bob is the right person to lead the company and to drive profitable growth and long-term shareholder value.”
With Eddy’s promotion to chief executive, BJ’s has named Laura Felice, senior vice president and controller, as executive vice president and CFO.
Also effective immediately, BJ’s has made another pair of executive appointments, which the warehouse club chain said are designed to “further strengthen its management team and accelerate its growth.”
Paul Cichocki, currently executive vice president of membership, analytics and business transformation, has been promoted to executive vice president and chief commercial officer, overseeing merchandising, membership, marketing and analytics. Meanwhile, Bill Werner, senior vice president of strategic planning and investor relations, has been elevated to executive vice president of strategy and development. In that role, he will lead the market expansion and key strategic initiatives for members and for shareholders.
“We remain committed to accelerating our transformation and to delivering outstanding value and service to our members. Our management team is comprised of seasoned executives with deep talent and a breadth of experience in the retail and consumer industries,” Baldwin noted. “In addition to Bob’s appointment as president and CEO, we continue to strengthen our team with accomplished leaders like Laura, Paul and Bill. This world-class team will continue to build on our existing momentum and fuel the next phase of growth for the company.”
Eddy came to BJ’s as senior vice president and director of finance in July 2007 and was promoted to executive vice president and CFO in January 2011. He added the title of chief administrative officer in January 2018.
Before joining BJ’s, Eddy (left) served multinational manufacturing, technology, retail and consumer products companies as a member of the audit and business advisory practice at PwC in Boston and San Francisco. From 2013 to 2017, he chaired the Financial Executives Council of the National Retail Federation.
“In the last year, we’ve truly transformed our business by every measure, and we continue to accelerate our strategic initiatives,” Eddy stated. “I’m honored and humbled to lead this growing company and great team. We are a much stronger and better company today than we were at the time of our IPO in 2018. I look forward to continuing to work with Chris, our board of directors and our entire leadership team, including Laura, Paul and Bill, to build on this momentum and take advantage of the opportunities ahead of us.”
As CFO, Felice (left) will oversee finance and controls, accounting, tax, treasury, risk management, audit and investor relations, according to BJ’s.
“Laura is ideally positioned to serve as our CFO and drive the next phase of our strategy,” Eddy commented. “She has played an integral role in transforming our balance sheet and in capitalizing on opportunities to invest back into our business. Under her leadership, we’ll continue to invest in growth initiatives to create value for our shareholders.”
Felice started at BJ’s in 2016 as senior vice president and controller. She joined the company from shoe manufacturer and retailer Clarks Americas, where she spent more than eight years, most recently as senior vice president of finance. Prior to that, she worked in the audit department at PwC in Boston.
“I’m grateful to have partnered closely with Bob for the last five years and am thrilled to assume the role of CFO for BJ’s,” Felice said in a statement. “Last year, we delivered extraordinary financial performance, and our business structurally changed for the better. We are poised for even more growth in the future, and I’m honored to help lead the company into this next phase of its transformation.”
Cichocki (left) has been with BJ’s since last year, when he joined the club retailer executive vice president of membership, analytics and business transformation. He came to BJ’s, from the Boston office of Bain & Co., where he spent over 20 years serving clients across a range of industries, including retail, consumer products, financial services and food and beverage. Prior to Bain, he worked as an operating manager at PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay division.
Werner (right) joined BJ’s in 2012 as vice president of accounting and financial reporting and was promoted to senior vice president of finance in 2013, senior vice president of strategic planning and analysis in 2016 and then to senior vice president of strategic planning and investor relations in 2018. Before coming to BJ’s, he served as a director in the deals practice at PwC in Boston.
Overall, BJ’s operates 221 clubs and 151 BJ's Gas stations in 17 states. For fiscal 2020, the retailer totaled net sales of $15.1 billion, up 17.1%. Full-year comparable-club sales grew 15.9% overall and 21.3% excluding gasoline.