Former Dick’s, Kmart exec to lead education company

RIVER GROVE, Ill. — Follett Corporation has named former Dick’s Sporting Goods executive Don Germano as president and chief operating officer of the Follett Higher Education Group. He replaces Tom Christopher, who announced plans to retire, effective August 30.

Christopher was president and chief operating officer of the Follett Higher Education Group for nearly 12 years.

"Tom's many contributions to Follett's higher education business are a tribute to his leadership, passion, and ability to inspire others," said Mary Lee Schneider, Follett's president and CEO. "On behalf of Follett management and the board of directors, I want to thank Tom for all he has done to serve our customers and to position our higher education business for continued success in the future."

Christopher joined Follett in 2002 after serving in executive leadership roles at Restoration Hardware, Barnes & Noble, Bookstop and Pier 1 Imports. He is credited with leading an expansion of the company's on-campus retail store business, adding nearly 300 new stores. Today Follett is the leading on-campus retailer in North America, managing more than 940 physical and online stores on behalf of higher education institution customers.

"I am pleased to welcome Don Germano to Follett," added Schneider.  "With outstanding leadership experience in specialty retailing and a focus on customers, Don is the ideal successor to Tom as we continue to invest in and grow our business."

Germano was SVP of operations for Dick's Sporting Goods. Prior to Dick's Sporting Goods, Germano served as SVP and GM for Kmart Holding Corporation, a subsidiary of Sears Holdings Corporation, between 2005 and 2010. He was responsible for the financial performance, operations and management of Kmart's 1,350 stores. Germano previously served in several senior-level operating roles for Kmart, and earlier held management and logistics positions with Kozmo.com, Nabisco, North American Van Lines and United Parcel Service.

Germano has a BS degree from the United States Naval Academy, and an MBA from Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management. He was also an officer in the United States Marine Corps.

Follett delivers physical and digital learning materials, retail services, school content and management systems to more than 70,000 early childhood, primary and secondary schools, and on more than 1,000 college campuses. Headquartered in River Grove, Ill., Follett is a $2.7 billion privately held company.