- BJ’s Wholesale Club has named Lee Delaney as its new CEO, according to a press release. Christopher Baldwin, the company's current chief executive, will step down from the role and become executive chairman. Delaney currently serves as company president after joining the company in 2016.
- BJ’s has also named Thomas Kingsbury, formerly CEO of Burlington stores, to the company board. He replaces Cameron Breitner, who has served on BJ’s board since 2011.
- All changes will be effective Feb. 2, 2020.
Lee Delaney joined BJ’s three years ago after ten years working for Bain & Company, the management consulting firm. He came on as chief growth officer, then became BJ's chief commercial officer before getting promoted to president in September. His elevation to CEO caps a rapid rise within the company, and underscores his importance to the company, said Baldwin.
“Lee’s strategic vision and leadership have been instrumental in the transformation of BJ’s Wholesale Club,” the chief executive said in a prepared statement.
New board member Kingsbury, meanwhile, served as chief executive of Burlington Stores for more than a decade. He stepped down in September but agreed to stay on with the company in an advisory role as it transitions new CEO Michael O’Sullivan.
BJ’s is becoming a leaner, more digitally focused company since going public last year. It’s rolled out a new app and website experiences and has winnowed down its assortment, with new stores in Michigan carrying around 1,000 fewer products than traditional locations. One of the categories that’s seeing significant cuts is grocery, with packaged food and beverage getting swapped out for prepared foods and general merchandise.
BJ’s has also focused on private label, with new releases coming this year in wine and spirits. The company’s own brand penetration currently stands at 21%.
Under Baldwin’s tenure as CEO, which began in 2015, BJ’s has also increased its membership ranks. Continuing to bring in new members and deepening loyalty among existing members, he said during a recent earnings call, will be key goals for BJ’s in 2020.