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GNC management makeover continues

BY Michael Johnsen

PITTSBURGH — GNC on Tuesday continued its management makeover with the promotions of Jeffrey Hennion and Darryl Green and the announced resignation of COO David Berg.

The specialty retailer last week named Thomas Dowd, a 22-year GNC veteran, the company’s chief merchandising officer following the departure of Beth Kaplan, former president and chief merchandising officer. It also was announced last week that GNC CEO Joe Fortunato would assume the role of president.

Hennion has been promoted to EVP and chief marketing officer and Green to SVP domestic store operations.

"These promotions demonstrate the strength of the current management team, which has allowed us to restructure the merchandising and marketing organization utilizing internal talent after the recent departure of Beth Kaplan," Fortunato stated. "Tom Dowd and Darryl Green represent over 40 years of experience in the dietary supplement industry at GNC, including key areas like store operations, merchandising and franchising,” he said. “In addition, Jeff Hennion was recently recruited from Dick’s Sporting Goods and represents significant executive experience with over 20 years at Dick’s and at Alcoa in various executive roles, including marketing, e-commerce, social media, and finance and administration."

David Berg’s resignation will be effective September 2011 in his pursuit of other interests, the company stated. "David accelerated our international growth and strengthened our international management team to allow for continued core growth in our existing 48 international franchise countries,” Fortunato said. “The international management team continues to focus on growth in China and is pursuing opportunities in other key countries as well. We wish David well in his future endeavors."

Fortunato added that a search for a new EVP international operations will commence immediately to replace Berg.

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TheraPearl rolls out hot-and-cold therapy patches for kids

BY Michael Johnsen

JESSUP, Md. — TheraPearl recently announced the development of a line of hot-and-cold therapy patches created just for kids called TheraPearl Pals. TheraPearl Pals conforms to the relief area even when fully frozen, the company stated.

“Not only am I a doctor, I am also a mother of three young children, and I know kids are always hurting themselves,” stated Carol Baltazar, co-founder of TheraPearl. “I’ve found that no matter how minor the injury, Pals make my kids feel better simply by offering them that little extra TLC.”

Currently, there are two TheraPearl Pals available: “Pearl” the Pig and “Ribbit” the Frog, available for $5.99 each. At this year’s ECRM Personal Care, Oral & Baby show in Orlando, Fla., TheraPearl will be debuting “Ping” the Panda and “Buster” the Puppy.

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New website born for Kroger baby products line

BY Michael Johnsen

CINCINNATI — Kroger on Wednesday launched a new website in support of its Comforts line of baby products, the grocer announced. 

ComfortsForBaby.com will enable busy moms to access and exchange ideas online, offering a community where mothers can share their insights and experiences parenting newborns, infants and toddlers. The website is available in English and Spanish, with the Hispanic microsite specifically designed to engage Latina moms. 

According to Paula Andruss, a mother of three and the site’s official “Chief Comforts Mom,” ComfortsForBaby.com speaks to a cross-section of moms. It’s a place where they can share, support and learn from each other. “All moms are looking for the tried and true, and want to hear from others about what works and is practical and realistic,” Andruss said. “ComfortsForBaby is a place for those who have ‘been there and done that’ to share their expertise with other moms and to find community support for themselves.” 

Andruss will help shape the website’s editorial content, create original articles and provide insights based on her real-life experience as a busy mom. “As a mother myself, I know what works, and I want to share as much valuable information as possible to help other moms make the most of their demanding days,” she said. 

The website will offer advice-oriented articles, such as how to soothe a crying baby or make mealtimes more fun and nutritious. Articles focused on newborns, infants and toddlers will be updated weekly. Another feature will focus on products. “Mothers find authentic reviews extraordinarily valuable when choosing products for their children,” Andruss said. 

Value-conscious moms will regularly find digital coupons (downloadable to shoppers’ savings cards) for a range of Comforts products on the site. And by clicking “Like” on the ComfortsForBaby Facebook page, mothers will have exclusive access to participate for a chance to win in various contests, sweepstakes and promotions that will be held throughout the year. 

According to Kroger, its Spanish-language microsite is the first grocery store baby brand to introduce a site especially for Latina moms. More than a simple translation from English to Spanish, content on the site is specific to the needs and interests of this community. 

“The launch of ComfortsForBaby.com effectively harnesses our years of experience in this category to better serve the needs of our customers,” stated Noel Fonseca, Comforts brand manager. "Our goal is that busy, experienced moms will think of us first and foremost for their children’s needs, and ComfortsForBaby.com, complemented by Facebook and Twitter, will be valuable resources for reinforcing this brand position.” 

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