CEO Marvin R. Ellison Wants Lowe’s To Be No. 1 In Home Improvement

ellisonFreshly minted in his new role as president and CEO of Lowe’s Companies Inc., Marvin R. Ellison last month announced a leadership restructuring “with simplified roles and responsibilities to drive operational excellence.”

“We have taken a fresh look at our organizational structure and are realigning our leadership team to improve our focus, better leverage Lowe’s omni-channel capabilities and deliver increased value for our customers, associates and shareholders,” Ellison said seven days after he took the helm. “As we make this transition, I would like to recognize the numerous contributions of the senior leaders departing Lowe’s and thank them for their years of service.”

As part of the company’s new leadership structure, the chief operating officer, chief customer officer, corporate administration executive and chief development officer positions have been eliminated, and responsibilities formerly under these roles will be assumed by other senior leadership roles that will report directly to Ellison.

“While Ellison eventually shook up the ranks at Penney, it took him some time to make these kind of big changes in Plano,” wrote Forbes contributor Warren Shoulberg. “This time out, he is moving quickly as Lowe’s struggles to catch up as the perennial also-ran to Depot.”

Lowe’s organizational changes began well before the arrival of Ellison, RetailDive writes. The company announced in January it would cut 2,400 jobs across its 285,000-employee U.S. workforce, and early this year shook up its board in the face of activist investor pressure.

Lowe’s is trying to get a leg up on its biggest competitor, The Home Depot Inc., in part by introducing new technologies to enhance the consumer experience, including robots, virtual and augmented reality, and a partnership announced in November with customer engagement startup b8ta to feature smart home and other devices in a store-within-a-store model, according to RetailDive.

“Both players have benefited from a robust housing market and remain relatively insulated from the ongoing encroachment of e-commerce on their market share and sales.” RetailDive writes. “The home improvement sector is among the healthiest in retail, and Moody’s Investors Service analysts at year’s end said they expect that to continue.”

When announcing Ellison’s appointment as Lowe’s CEO upon the retirement of Robert A. Niblock, the company in May wrote that Ellison has an extensive track record in the home improvement industry, having spent 12 years in senior-level operations roles with Home Depot, where he served as executive vice president of U.S. stores. In that position, Ellison oversaw U.S. sales, operations and strategic initiatives to attract more professional contractor customers, “dramatically improving customer service and efficiency across the organization to serve both do-it-yourself and pro customers.”

“Marvin joins Lowe’s at a critical inflection point as we work to enhance our competitive position and capitalize on solid project demand in an evolving consumer environment,” Marshall O. Larsen, lead director of the board, said in the announcement.

He’s No. 49 on Chief Executive and RHR International’s CEO1000 Tracker, a ranking of the top 1,000 public/private companies.

Marvin R. Ellison, President & CEO, Lowe’s

Headquarters: Mooresville, NC

Age: 53

Education: University of Memphis (BA), Emory University (MBA)

First joined company: 2018

Positions prior to joining Lowe’s: CEO of J.C. Penney

Named CEO: 2018