Plus new CEOs at Shipt and, a promotion at Costco and Wayfair, and a new hire at Parachute.

Peloton Interactive Inc. CEO John Foley will step down and become executive chairman in a victory for activist investor Blackwells Capital LLC, which had campaigned for his departure as the fitness company struggled with declining demand for its products.

Barry McCarthy, former chief financial officer at Spotify Technology SA, will become CEO and president, effective Feb. 9, Peloton said in a statement Tuesday. Peloton also said it would cut about 2,800 global jobs, affecting around 20% of corporate positions. Peloton is No. 70 in the 2021 Digital Commerce 360 Top 1000.

Peloton’s shares have tumbled more than 80% from their all-time high a year ago, as the gradual easing of COVID-19-era restrictions fueled concern that growth of the stay-home fitness company will slow. The stock increased 31% on Monday after reports that it’s exploring takeover options.

McCarthy will join the board of directors. Peloton said president William Lynch would transition to become a non-executive director. Foley’s departure didn’t seem to address the concerns of the company’s investors initially.

“Foley has proven he is not suited to lead Peloton, whether as CEO or executive chair, and he should not be hand-picking directors, as he appears to have done today,” Blackwells Capital chief investment officer Jason Aintabi said in a statement.


Blackwells, which has a stake of less than 5%, has also called for Peloton to explore a sale of the business. It has decried the CEO’s leadership, citing failed forecasting, inconsistent strategy, and governance problems such as a lack of financial controls.

Blackwells published a presentation on Monday calling for the resignation of chief financial officer Jill Woodworth and renewing demands for an immediate sale of the company. Blackwells said the company could fetch $75 a share in a sale to a strategic buyer such as Netflix Inc. or Spotify.

Foley, a former ecommerce executive at Barnes & Noble Inc. (No. 105) and cycling enthusiast, founded the company after posting a video to Kickstarter in 2013. The company became an early pandemic darling with long waiting lists for its stationary exercise bikes but then suffered a series of missteps, including product recalls after reported accidents and a child’s death. In December, the company’s public image also took a hit when HBO Max’s “Sex and the City” reboot killed off a Peloton-riding character.


Peloton was valued at just over $8 billion at the end of last week, based on Friday’s official market close of $24.60 a share. That’s below its September 2019 initial public offering price of $29 a share.

“I’m confident that Barry is the right leader to take the company into its next phase of growth,” Foley said in the statement.

Though the founder still holds a key position, his authority may have limits.


“While Foley has supermajority B shares and ultimately controls the fate of Peloton, we believe shareholder pressure will build to solicit bids and sell Peloton to a strategic player with potential bidders Apple (No. 3), Amazon (No. 1), and Nike (No. 11) likely in the fold,” Wedbush analyst Dan Ives said in a note.

In other personnel news:

  • Home improvement giant The Home Depot Inc. (No. 4) replaced CEO Craig Menear with Ted Decker, effective March 1. Decker previously served as chief operating officer and will remain president of the company. Menear will continue to serve as chair of the board of directors, which Decker will join. The Home Depot named Decker COO in October 2020, overseeing, among other things, the global supply chain amid upheaval in the wake of the pandemic. Decker has been with Home Depot since 2000, serving in roles overseeing merchandising for both stores and ecommerce operations.
  • Membership-based mass merchant Costco Wholesale Corp. (No. 10) promoted longtime executive Ron Vachris to president and chief operating officer, signaling a succession plan for CEO Craig Jelinek. Vachris replaces Jelinek as president while also joining the warehouse club’s board of directors. Jelinek will continue to serve as CEO and maintain a board seat, Costco said in a regulatory filing Thursday. “This is not an official announcement of a CEO succession plan, but it implies a plan is taking shape,” Morgan Stanley analyst Simeon Gutman wrote in a research note. “It almost certainly paves the way for Mr. Vachris to succeed current CEO, Craig Jelinek. If Vachris is appointed CEO, he would be the third CEO in Costco’s history.”
  • Same-day delivery service Shipt, owned by Target Corp. (No. 6), named Kamau Witherspoon as CEO starting March 1. Witherspoon joins Shipt from the parent organization Target, where he served as senior vice president of operations. Shipt’s current CEO, Kelly Caruso, who has led the company for the past three years, will stay on in an advisory role.
  • Online marketplace announced Vijay Talwar as CEO and the newest member of its board of directors, starting March 1. Talwar, previously CEO of Europe, Middle East and Africa business at Foot Locker Inc. (No. 39), is replacing Wish founder Piotr Szulczewski, who will stay as a board member. Wish is No. 15 in the Digital Commerce 360 Top 100 Online Marketplaces ranking.
  • Home decor retailer Wayfair Inc. (No. 7 in the Top 1000) named Fiona Tan as chief technology officer beginning March 1. Tan joined Wayfair in 2020 as global head of customer and supplier technology, working with retiring CTO Jim Miller. Tan previously served in technology leadership positions at Walmart Inc. (No. 2).
  • Home furnishing brand Parachute (No. 642) named Meredith Lamont as the company’s first chief merchandising officer. She will help the brand expand into new product categories, mostly known for its bedding. Lamont previously worked with Pottery Barn (owned by Williams-Sonoma Inc., No. 23), Gap Inc. (No. 20), and Levi Strauss & Co. (No. 181).