Home Depot Hires New CMO

Former Hasbro Exec Bifulco Is Latest in Tumultuous Marketing Suite

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Ending its six-month search, Home Depot today named Frank Bifulco senior VP-chief marketing officer. He takes over for John Ross, who had been handling the role on an interim basis and who retains the position of VP-advertising.

Mr. Bifulco, who will begin work on April 28, is joining the home-improvement retailer at a precarious time as it struggles amid the slowing economy and mortgage meltdown. In February, the chain reported the first sales decline in its 30-year history, along with a 27% drop in fourth-quarter profits. The retailer is also already forecasting a 4%-to-5% falloff in sales for fiscal 2008.

High turnover
The appointment of Mr. Bifulco caps a tumultuous three years in Home Depot's marketing suite. Former CMO John Costello departed in August of 2005 and was replaced by Tom Taylor, who spent just 11 months at the helm. Roger Adams, who last week began work as Lord & Taylor's chief marketer, then took on the role, only to depart a scant 12 months later.

In a departure, Mr. Bifulco will report to Craig Menear, exec VP-merchandising. In the past, the chief marketer has reported directly to the CEO. "We feel as a retailer this structure makes the most sense for our business, so our marketing efforts are more aligned with our merchandising plans," said Jean Niemi, senior manager-corporate communications.

Home Depot declined to comment further on Mr. Bifulco's appointment beyond a release, which noted that he has nearly 30 years of marketing and sales experience in consumer products and retail businesses.

Experienced player
Previously, Mr. Bifulco was the chief customer officer and president of Hasbro North America Sales. He has also served as the chief marketing officer for Timberland, the footwear and apparel company, and from 1994 to 2000 he was the senior VP-marketing for Coca-Cola North America. Mr. Bifulco is also an alum of Procter & Gamble.

Home Depot's agencies include Richards Group and Initiative.
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