Ryan Ross, Williams Sonoma

ryan_ross_williams-sonomaThe August 19 edition of HOMEWORLD BUSINESS® revealed the 14th annual “People To Watch” in housewares during the next 12 months.

Selected by HomeWorld Business editors, “People To Watch” represents a cross section of a diverse housewares business— from established to newly installed company leaders; from large to small operations, from big-box to specialty retailers; from trade show managers to celebrity endorsers.

The HomeWorld “People To Watch” are in the spotlight not only for how they might impact their respective organizations in the coming months, but also for how they might impact the overall housewares business.

Ryan Ross, Williams Sonoma Brand, President

CREDENTIALS: Ryan Ross, formerly the evp/emerging brands for Williams Sonoma, was named president of the Williams Sonoma brand effective August 1 upon the resignation of Janet Hayes. With more than 20 years of retail experience, Ross held positions of increasing responsibility within the company’s Pottery Barn brand from 2000 to 2008, including vp/Bed and Bath, and vp/eCommerce. According to the company, Ross also has international experience, as he was the director of Harrods Direct in London. He then became a founding executive and chief creative officer of the Stylus Media Group. Prior to his return to the company in 2017 to lead Rejuvenation, he served as evp/Marketing and Digital Commerce at Home Shopping Network (HSN).

WHAT TO WATCH: Williams Sonoma, which touted a strong finish to its fiscal 2018, will be looking to create additional growth and maintain high profitability, as well as aggressive prioritizing by the brand.

Additionally, there are several new company-wide initiatives that are poised to have an effect on the Williams Sonoma brand segment. One example is The Key, a cross-brand initiative that is said to be a focus for Williams Sonoma throughout the next year, one that which the company believes will be a significant driver of business.

Ross, however, seems to be primed for the job as he was previously responsible for driving the growth strategies of Rejuvenation, one of the company’s emerging brands. Under Ross’ leadership, Rejuvenation saw continued growth, as he strategically sought out new locations and focused on building partnerships in the local communities of those locations.

As with all retailers with a significant brick-and-mortar presence, Ross will also need to continue finding new ways of using his company’s stores and e-commerce operation together to engage shoppers and further drive sales.

PERSPECTIVE: According to Laura Alber, the company’s president and CEO, Ross is an asset to the leadership team. She cites his track record of growth, retail and digital experience and his knowledge of the Williams Sonoma brand as characteristics that will make him successful in the role.

2020 HomeWorld Business People To Watch (click on name for profile):

Rich Krause, Capital Brands

Jill Soltau, J.C. Penney

Marcelo Borges, Tramontina USA

Ross Patterson, Robinson Home

Dave Albert, Spectrum Brands

Christopher Banning, Meyer Corp. U.S.

Kris Malkoski, Arc Americas

Bryan Welsh, SodaStream U.S.

Todd Wanek, Ashley Furniture

Mike Otterman, Lodge

Mike Bauer, Libbey

Corie Barry, Best Buy

Lee Bird, At Home

Ryan Ross, Williams Sonoma

Mark Eichhorn, The Oneida Group

Ravi Saligram, Newell Brands

Derek Miller, International Housewares Association

Arthur Zambelli, Bradshaw Home

Mads Ryder, Lenox Corp.

Jay Jordan, Home Meridian