By Mark Maurer
Luxury retailer Tapestry Inc. is turning to a former chief operating officer without an accounting background to serve as its new finance chief -- the latest indicator companies are craving more than just financial chops in the CFO seat.
Joanne Crevoiserat will become Tapestry's CFO in August after serving for 2 1/2 years as COO of Abercrombie & Fitch Co. Tapestry, the New York-based handbag and accessories company that owns the Coach, Stuart Weitzman and Kate Spade brands, announced the appointment Wednesday.
Ms. Crevoiserat fills the position vacated by Kevin Wills, an accountant who stepped down in February to become CFO of Pilot Travel Centers LLC, which runs the truck-stop chain Pilot Flying J. Andrea Resnick, Tapestry's global head of investor relations and corporate communications, has served as interim CFO since then.
Ms. Crevoiserat will join Tapestry as the company evaluates how to grow its international operations. The move takes advantage of Ms. Crevoiserat's experience with global brands.
Abercrombie grew its roster of international company-operated stores by 11% to 198 during Ms. Crevoiserat's tenure as COO, according to the company's annual reports.
Her experience could give Tapestry, which already operates more than 1,500 stores globally, a similar boost. Tapestry expects to add roughly 50 directly operated Stuart Weitzman stores globally over the next fiscal year, Victor Luis, Tapestry's chief executive, said on an earnings call last month.
Ms. Crevoiserat spent five years in total at Abercrombie, which has been struggling with slowing sales gains. Her operations stint followed nearly three years as the New Albany, Ohio, retailer's finance chief. Before Abercrombie, Ms. Crevoiserat held senior management positions at retailers including Kohl's Corp. and Walmart Inc.
"Joanne was instrumental and, in my view, underappreciated at Abercrombie & Fitch for keeping costs down during some tough times, but her career before that was more traditional," said Dylan Carden, an analyst at William Blair & Co. who follows the company. "Tapestry needs a CFO who understands the industry, is comfortable across jurisdictions and with multiple brands."
Analysts expressed concern last month when Tapestry revealed plans to buy back as much as $1 billion of its stock, citing the possibility it could slow or stop portfolio growth. The company also is still lagging in its penetration of the digital-sales market and in dynamic pricing, Mr. Carden said.
Tapestry posted better-than-expected earnings in the quarter ending March 31. Comparable-store sales, which include sales at stores open at least a year and online sales, rose 1% from the year-earlier period at Coach and fell 3% at Kate Spade.
Tapestry declined to make Ms. Crevoiserat available for an interview. Ms. Resnick, the outgoing interim CFO, will remain as the company's head of investor relations and corporate communications. Ms. Resnick declined to comment.
"As we continue to implement our portfolio strategy, I am confident that Joanne is the right leader and strategic business partner to our teams as we drive Tapestry's next chapter of growth as a global house of brands," Mr. Luis, the CEO, said in a statement.
Moving from a chief operating officer role to a finance chief position is somewhat rare. Last year, 2% of sitting CFOs at Fortune 500 and S&P 500 companies came from the president or chief operating officer role, according to a report from recruitment firm Crist|Kolder Associates.
The number of chief operating officer roles has declined by nearly 15% over the past decade as companies shift those responsibilities to the CFO and other executives. Less than one-third of companies in the Fortune 500 and S&P 500 had a COO in 2018, according to Crist|Kolder.
"More and more, CFOs have backgrounds that are well-rounded," said Paul McDonald, a senior executive director at staffing and recruitment firm Robert Half International Inc. "I'm sure Joanne will lean on her finance staff and will help chart the course rather than crunch the numbers herself."
Ms. Crevoiserat will receive an annual base salary of $900,000 and a sign-on cash bonus of $700,000, 50% of which will be payable in her first six weeks, according to a regulatory filing.
Tapestry announced the appointment before regular trading on the New York Stock Exchange. The company's stock rose 0.56% during regular trading, closing at $30.48, largely in line with the broader market.
Write to Mark Maurer at firstname.lastname@example.org