• VW Boss Pushed Out, Partly Due To Communication Style
    Volkswagen AG CEO Herbert Diess is resigning by “mutual agreement,” the automaker says. “But a supervisory board vote forced Diess to step down following a series of missteps over strategy and communication style,” per Automotive News. “Sources with knowledge of the matter said the Porsche and Piech families, who own over half the voting rights and a 31.4% equity stake in Volkswagen, also pressed for a change at the top.” Oliver Blume, head of the Porsche brand, will take over the role while maintaining his current position.
  • Claire's Turnaround Fueled By Nostalgia
    Claire’s return to financial health is at least in part due to Gen Z’s obsession with items like tie-dyed scrunchies and pizza earrings. The 50-year-old brand also has its fair share of Gen X fans. “For generations of women, Claire’s conjures up powerful feelings of nostalgia,” per Fast Company. “The brand has been a fixture of the retail landscape since 1971, catering to the unique sensibilities of tween girls.”
  • Amazon Hires CEO For Stores Unit
    Doug Herrington, who joined Amazon in 2005, is the new chief executive officer of the company’s Worldwide Amazon Stores business, formerly known as Consumer. “Amazon intends to accelerate the expansion of its physical food retail footprint across the United States,” per Progressive Grocer. According to the company’s first-quarter earnings report on April 28, online sales were down 3% year over year to $51.1 billion, but physical-store sales were up 17% to $4.6 billion.
  • Chipotle Closes First Store That Voted To Unionize
    Chipotle has closed its Augusta, Maine location, which became the first of the chain’s locations in the country to vote to unionize last month. One of the employees’ main complaints was understaffing, which Chipotle said it was trying to remedy. “This is union busting 101 and there is nothing that motivates us to fight harder than this underhanded attempt to shut down the labor movement within their stores,” Chipotle United organizer Brandi McNease said in a statement. “They’re scared because they know how powerful we are and if we catch fire like the unionization effort at Starbucks they won’t be able …
  • Chili's Names New CMO
    Chili’s Grill & Bar has hired a former Pizza Hut, KFC, Tinder and P&G marketing executive as its next CMO. George Felix starts July 21. “The news comes as Chili’s has been updating the customer experience, including by expanding automation and opening an e-commerce shop,” per Restaurant Dive. “Owner Brinker International underwent a recent leadership change when CEO Wyman Roberts retired in June and Kevin Hochman took over the role.”
  • Skittles Sued For Alleged 'Known Toxin'
    Mars is being sued by a consumer seeking class-action status who alleges the company is aware its Skittles brand candy contain a known toxin, titanium dioxide, that makes the rainbow candies "unfit for human consumption.” Mars uses titanium dioxide to produce the candy’s artificial colors. “In 2016, the candy maker publicly shared its intention to remove titanium dioxide from its products in the coming years, the complaint noted Thursday, but titanium dioxide is still used in Skittles,” per USA Today.
  • Longtime NYC Restaurant Mainstay Abruptly Closes
    All Hale & Hearty locations have closed, at least temporarily, according to signs in the windows of all 16 locations in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Long Island. The 20-year-old chain “has had its ups and downs,” per the New York Post. “It scaled down from 21 locations a few years ago and its Midtown and FiDi outlets were hammered by COVID-19-driven loss of lunchtime traffic.” One Hale and Hearty branch was recently sued by major food vendor Chefs Warehouse for nearly $160,000 in unpaid invoices and by its landlord for $400,000 in unpaid rent.
  • Porsche Celebrates National Ice Cream Day
    Porsche partnered with a Chicago-based ice cream shop to celebrate National Ice Cream Day on July 17. Five treats were inspired by colors in the Porsche palette: Mint Green, Strawberry Red, Macadamia Metallic, Frozen Berry Metallic and Lime Gold Metallic. Porsche says the the treats will be available at exclusive Porsche events later this year.
  • Former VW Marketing Exec Heads To Tractor Supply
    Kimberley Gardiner has been appointed CMO and senior vice president of Tractor Supply Co., taking over for Christi Korzekwa, who is retiring. Gardiner has more than 22 years of marketing experience, including stints at Volkswagen of America, Mitsubishi and Kia. She most recently was senior vice president, VW marketing at Volkswagen of America. 
  • Netflix Chooses To Market New Film
    Netflix is uncharacteristically touting the Ryan Gosling spy thriller "The Gray Man," one of the company’s most expensive films. The campaign includes billboards in several cities, as well as TV advertising spots during major sporting events. “The campaign is a test for the world’s most-popular paid video service, which hasn’t historically prioritized marketing titles before their release,” per Bloomberg. “Executives at Netflix and creators of shows have been pushing the company’s leadership to increase the marketing budgets for its movies and TV shows.”
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