Corner Office Shifts: Tim Hortons, Sleep Country, Birks Group

A round-up of senior-level executive changes you may have missed.
Corner Office

Paloma Azulay slides into the global CMO role at Timmies

Following the promotion of Axel Schwan, who has led Tim Hortons marketing since late 2017, to the Canada and U.S. regional president role last month, the coffee and donuts chain looked internally for his replacement.

Paloma Azulay, the brand’s former global head of creative, has stepped in as global CMO, eighteen months after arriving at the company from Coca-Cola Europe, where she held the title of global head of creative excellence.

A native of Brazil, Azulay was unfamiliar with the Tim Hortons brand when she moved to Canada. But she has since worked with Schwan on campaigns representing its biggest marketing investment in many years, including the relaunch of the “True Stories” platform, a partnership with Shawn Mendes, a film featuring Raptors fan Nav Bhatia, and the The Away Game featuring Kenya’s sole ice hockey team.

With Schwan’s promotion as regional president, Alex Macedo maintains his position as global president for the brand, with a greater focus on international expansion and new market opportunities.

Laura Penso leads marketing at Sleep Country

The mattress company has appointed Penso as the next lead marketer for Sleep Country and its Quebec affiliate, Dormez-Vous. She replaces former SVP of marketing Laura Baker, who departed in June, and will report directly into chief business development officer Stewart Schaefer.

Penso’s duties include leading all marketing communications – including branding, creative development, advertising, promotions, flyers, digital marketing, social media and public relations – as the Montreal-based company eyes further expansion after absorbing DTC mattress competitor Endy in November last year.

The acquisition and the addition of fifteen new stores helped buttress Sleep Country’s third-quarter results, released in October, which showed revenues grew by 14.2% over the same period last year, with comparable sales jumping 0.5%. As it celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, it continues to eye further expansion.

Penso was most recently VP marketing at Red Apple Stores, a general merchandise retailer, and has held positions at P&G, Second Cup, Winners/HomeSense and Levi Strauss.

Birks Groups appoints marketing and omnichannel lead

Last month jewellery company Birks, which operates 16 stores in Canada, named Lanita Layton as VP and chief omnichannel sales and marketing officer.

She replaces Aurélie Pépion, who departed the company in September. Pépion, who was initially brought on as the VP and omnichannel sales and operations at Birks, was eventually given additional marketing and communications duties, which Layton maintains.

In an emailed statement to strategy, Birks said it believes “marketing and sales need to be strongly united under the same vision and work hand in hand for success. This allows for cohesiveness in an omni-channel culture and a seamless experience for the customer, by looking at the business from all angles.”

The company said its marketing department consists of five creative visual merchandising and graphic designers, as well as seven employees in marketing and communications, all of whom will report into Layton. She has nine total direct reports.

During fiscal 2019, Birks reported sales of $151 million, up 3% from the year before, driven by an increase in comparable store sales of 1%.