Lowe’s picks Best Buy exec Kumar for strategy role

MOORESVILLE, N.C. — Lowe’s has named former Best Buy executive Marise Kumar SVP of strategy and modeling. In her new capacity, Kumar will report to Robert J. Gfeller, customer experience design executive.

Kumar will identify opportunities that positively impact the customer experience. She will work closely with leaders in customer experience and across the organization to ensure opportunities are practical, financially valid and create a compelling experience for customers across all channels.

“We want to be trusted advisers for consumers at each step of their home improvement process, by helping deliver better experiences for them whenever and wherever they shop with Lowe’s,” Gfeller said. “We’re excited to have Marise’s deep expertise in understanding consumer expectations and translating those insights into experiences that make a difference to consumers and our business.”

Kumar has more than 25 years of experience in brand management, general management and executive leadership, serving most recently as chief customer experience officer and CMO for Best Buy. Before her retail experience with Best Buy, she spent 13 years with Whirlpool Corporation, where she managed emerging brands and businesses in the United States before leading strategic planning for North America and global customer loyalty. She began her career in packaged goods, where she spent more than 10 years in Asia with Colgate Palmolive.

Kumar holds a B.A. degree in economics and statistics from Elphinstone College in Bombay, India, and earned an M.B.A. from the Indian Institute of Management in Calcutta.

Her appointment comes one day after Lowe’s reported third-quarter results showing and improvement in the quarter’s profits, which were up 76%. Lowe’s president and CEO Robert Niblock called the results solid and said the company is focused on improving execution, delivering value and increasing product differentiation. Niblock also noted that 12 of 14 product categories ended the quarter with a positive comp. And nearly 2/3 of the categories generated comps above the company average, including big-ticket categories such as cabinets and appliances. Building materials was the only significant drag in the quarter, which resulted from a strong comparison to the prior.