ANKENY, Iowa -- Casey’s General Stores Inc. has hired Chris Jones in the newly created position of chief marketing officer (CMO). In this role, Jones will oversee Casey’s marketing, advertising, foodservice and digital activities, among other responsibilities.
The creation of a CMO position is a component of Casey’s recently announced value-creation plan, driven in part as a response to pressure from activist investors who were urging the company to explore strategic alternatives, including a possible sale.
Casey’s outlined a plan, already in motion before the investor push, involving several key initiatives including digital engagement to be led by the new CMO, as well as price optimization, cost reduction, reallocation of capital, board and governance changes and a fleet card.
“We’re excited to add Chris to our team to help us drive our newly announced value-creation plan,” said President and CEO Terry Handley. “Chris brings 27 years of marketing, brand strategy and digital engagement expertise that will help us execute against our plan and support our future growth.”
Prior to joining Casey’s, Jones held leadership or executive positions with Mars Inc. and Athene USA (formerly Aviva USA). He most recently was the senior vice president of marketing for convenience-store operator Kum & Go, West Des Moines, Iowa, where he championed the chain’s brand and customer experience initiatives and the creation, implementation and development of its customer loyalty program.
In other company news, Casey’s has elected Judy Schmeling as a director to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Johnny Danos, who died March 18, 2018.
“We were saddened at Johnny’s passing, and deeply appreciated all the guidance he provided the company over the last 14 years,” Handley said. “Judy brings a wealth of retail and customer experience to the board. We’re excited to be able to add her skill set to our team.”
Prior to joining the board at Casey’s, Schmeling most recently had been COO of HSN Inc., the Home Shopping Network, and the president of Cornerstone Brands, a division of HSN. She also serves on the board of Constellation Brands Inc., a producer and marketer of premium alcohol beverages.
Casey's new strategy includes significant changes to its board of directors.
Bob Myer, who retired as Casey’s CEO in April 2016 but continued to serve as chairman, stepped down from the board in March. Bill Kimball and Jeff Lamberti also resigned from the board at that time.
The board named H. Lynn Horak, former regional chairman of Wells Fargo Regional Banking, as the new chairman. Other new board members include Donald Frieson, former executive vice president of operations for Sam’s Club; David Lenhardt, former president and CEO of PetSmart; and Allison Wing, former chief marketing lead officer and executive vice president of digital channels for Ascena Retail Group.
Along with Handley, the only non-independent director on the nine-person board, existing directors include Diane Bridgewater, executive vice president, CFO and chief accounting officer of LCS; Cara Heiden, former co-president of Wells Fargo Home Mortgage; and Larree Renda, former executive vice president of Safeway.
Ankeny, Iowa-based Casey's operates more than 2,000 convenience stores in 15 states throughout the Midwest. The chain ranked at No. 4 in CSP’s 2017 Top 202 list of c-store chains by number of company-operated retail outlets.