Urban Outfitters Promotes CFO to COO as Part of Executive Shuffle

Urban Outfitters Inc.

promoted its finance chief to chief operating officer, a move that comes as the number of COOs at large U.S. companies is declining.

The Philadelphia-based fashion and home goods retailer said Tuesday that Chief Financial Officer Frank Conforti has been named COO and co-president. Mr. Conforti has served as Urban Outfitters’s CFO since 2012. He will continue in the CFO role while the company searches for a replacement.

Mr. Conforti succeeds current COO Calvin Hollinger, who plans to leave at the end of the month after five years in the role and 16 years with the company, Urban Outfitters said.

Mr. Conforti’s promotion—part of a broader reshuffle at the top—followed an announcement by

Tupperware Brands Corp.

earlier in the day to expand the purview of its CFO.

Also on Tuesday, Cassandra Harris got the COO title in addition to her existing responsibilities as finance chief, the Orlando, Fla.-based maker of food storage containers and other kitchen equipment said.

Tupperware and Urban Outfitters declined to comment beyond their respective releases.

The number of COOs at companies in the S&P 500 and Fortune 500 has been trending lower in recent years to 35% in 2020, down from 42% in 2010, according to the Crist|Kolder Volatility Report, which tracks executive recruitment trends.

The two promotions show that some finance chiefs have significant leverage within their companies to expand their remit, said Peter Crist, chairman at Crist|Kolder Associates. “Companies are desperate to retain outstanding people,” he said.

In his new position, Mr. Conforti will assume responsibility for Urban Outfitters’s fulfillment and logistics divisions, as well as legal and human resources, the company said in its announcement.

He previously oversaw Urban Outfitter’s inventory strategy during the pandemic, working to reduce its stockpile of clothing while also making sure it has the right products on offer. The company is navigating a difficult retail environment amid the pandemic. Net sales declined 16.5% to $803.3 million in the quarter ended July 31 compared with the year-ago period, Urban Outfitters said.

Mr. Conforti’s base salary will increase to $900,000 from $773,000 as part of the promotion, the company said in a regulatory filing. Meg Hayne, Urban Outfitters’s chief creative officer, will serve as the company’s other co-president. Her base salary has also been raised to $900,000, Urban Outfitters said.

Write to Kristin Broughton at [email protected]

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