During Pat Connolly’s 37 years with Williams-Sonoma, he has been a part of many company milestones ranging from the housewares specialty store going public to continued growth of its e-commerce business. But Connolly is now leaving the company, having announced his retirement effective July 31.
“I have had the privilege of spending my career at one of the greatest companies in the world,” he said. “I learned early on from retail icons Chuck Williams and Howard Lester, and together we launched beautiful stores, built an innovative catalog business, launched compelling new brands, and became one of the largest and most profitable global Internet retailers.”
Connolly joined Williams-Sonoma in 1979 as vp/mail order. At the time, company sales were $4.5 million. Four years later, he joined the company’s board of directors and that year helped take the company public.
Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Connolly led the direct-to-customer business, overseeing all aspects of merchandising, marketing, customer service, and inventory management for the Williams-Sonoma, Pottery Barn and Pottery Barn Kids brands. In 2000, the company re-organized to a brand-led structure, and Connolly was promoted to chief marketing officer.
Since 2014, Connolly has served as chief strategy and business development officer. Those responsibilities will be assumed by the office of the CEO.
“On behalf of the board, I would like to thank Pat for his many years of dedicated service to the company,” said Laura Alber, president and CEO, and Adrian Bellamy, chairman of the board, in a joint statement. “In his years as a member of our board, he helped grow annual company revenues from $35 million to $5 billion. His early advocacy for and strong belief in e-commerce led to the company establishing a leadership position that continues to this day.”
“I am proud to have spent my life working with talented and inspiring people, and the current deeply tenured management team is the strongest that I have seen in all of my years with the organization,” Connolly said. “I know that the company’s core value of customer service and its high standard of integrity in all of its business dealings are firmly in place, and I look forward to watching this strong team continue to grow the company and create significant value for its shareholders.”