After less than a year as chief financial officer of The Children’s Place, Sheamus Toal is taking on more responsibility with the company.
In an Aug. 1 announcement, the Secaucus-based children’s apparel retailer said Toal will become its new chief operating officer, overseeing IT, logistics, distribution and store operations, as well as continuing to lead the company’s finances.
Prior to joining The Children’s Place in November 2022, Toal spent over 16 years with New York & Co., where he held several senior level finance and operational positions.
Jane Elfers, president and chief executive officer of The Children’s Place, praised Toal, saying he “has a very strong appreciation for our digital transformation.”
“Sheamus’ extensive specialty retail operating experience makes him particularly well suited to take on these additional operating responsibilities and the combination of finance and operational oversight under one leader provides important synergies as we transform to a more agile and nimble digital-first model,” she said.
The Children’s Place’s previous chief operating officer, Leah Swan, retired in June 2022.
Additionally, the company announced the appointment of Maegan Markee as brand president.
According to The Children’s Place, Markee will have oversight for customer-facing activities across the company’s portfolio – which also includes Gymboree, Sugar & Jade and PJ Place – as well as design, sourcing, merchandising, marketing, planning, allocation, wholesale operations and the international business.
Since joining the company 13 years ago, Markee has held executive positions of increasing responsibility and “played an integral part in accelerating our transformation to a digital-first company and implementing our Amazon marketplace strategy,” Elfers said.
In the new role of chief merchant, Mary Beth Sheridan will have direct responsibility for merchandising, sourcing, planning and allocation and report to Markee. Sheridan’s background includes serving as chief merchandising officer at Anthropologie as well as leadership positions with Macy’s and Lord & Taylor.
In commenting on the hiring, Elfers said, “I have worked with Mary Beth previously, and am confident that she has the experience and skill set necessary to quickly identify growth opportunities on both the top and bottom lines and to develop collaborative, cross-functional strategies to achieve them. Marybeth’s results-driven mindset will help us continue to build momentum with our millennial and Gen Z customers.”
All three appointments are effective immediately; Toal and Markee will continue to report to Elfers.
The changes come about a month after the retailer revealed plans to lay off 181 employees, the majority of which work at its corporate offices.
The Children’s Place also said it will end the lease for its headquarters in Secaucus early to “capitalize on the prevailing tenant-favorable market conditions.” It is unclear what the company’s plans are for after it leaves the Hudson County property in May 2024.
The retailer has been working to transition from a traditional store concept into a digital-first business, spending $50 million to upgrade omnichannel capabilities over the past decade.
As part of its fleet optimization strategy, The Children’s Place has permanently closed 600 stores since 2013 and expects to close between 80 to 100 additional locations in 2023; it anticipates starting 2024 with about 500 shops.
Editor’s note: This story was updated at 2:35 p.m. ET Aug. 2, 2023, to clarify Toal’s title as well as the number of store closures.