Macy's hired Laura Miller, former CIO at InterContinental Hotel Group with IT experience stretching back decades, to serve as CIO for the retailer starting on March 15, according to an announcement on Monday. Miller is taking over for CTO Naveen Krishna.
Miller will report directly to CEO and Chairman Jeff Gennette in the role. As CIO, Miller will work to "improve the full omni shopping experience and modernize our platforms," Gennette said.
Alongside the CIO change, Macy's will eliminate the chief operating officer role when current COO John Harper departs on Aug. 1. The chief stores officer and chief supply chain officer will then report directly to the CEO.
Downsizing in 2019, Macy's outsourced some of its IT to a third-party vendor and cut 100 executive jobs as a part of its cost-cutting strategies. Business hasn't gotten any easier for retail since the pandemic hit.
Macy's "anticipates 2021 as a recovery and rebuilding year," according to its Q4 and fiscal year 2020 earnings report. Comparable sales were down 17% on an owned basis due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but digital sales grew 21% over fourth quarter 2019 as customers moved online.
The company expects digital sales will reach $10 billion within the next three years as it grows technology investments.
Over the last several years, Macy's invested in digital transformation efforts, such as predictive analytics, to improve its customer experience, according to CFO Adrian V. Mitchell on the company's latest earnings call. The endeavors will continue to fuel the retailer's recovery.
"In the near and long-term, we plan to invest a large percentage of our capital in the digital experience as well as our supply chain and technology transformation," Mitchell said. About half of the company's capital will be spent on the efforts, a 2 1/2 times increase.
The efforts are in line with Macy's three-year Polaris strategy announced in February 2020. Pillars of the strategy focus on modernizing the company's technology infrastructure and its tech platform to accelerate transformation.
"This includes, first, a modernized technology platform to support a friction-free customer and colleague experience," Gennette said in the earnings call. "Second, a revamp data and analytics foundation to drive growth and profitability through all of our decisions. And third and the most critical to our success, a performance-driven operating model enabled by clear incentives for our colleagues."
AI and data analytics power the rise of e-commerce to meet shoppers at home as the industry at-large looks to recoup. But Macy's has been growing its data efforts for years.
The retailer tapped Google Cloud's data management and analytics offerings to enable an in-house developed warehouse management software. The software scales to supply chain needs and was accelerated by Krishna when he joined the company from Home Depot in 2018.