Management & Board of Advisors

Management

Shah Karim, Chief Executive Officer, SafeRock

Shah is the Chief Executive Officer of SafeRock and serves as advisory to Fortune 500 enterprises and investment groups in North America, Europe, and Asia on strategy, digital transformation, and M&A. Shah is an Innovation Fellow at Columbia Business School. He is a Co-Founder of the non-profit ‘Friends of Yale from Industry’, Emeritus of the Graduate School Advisory (GSAA) board at Yale and also Emeritus of the Alumni Board of Governors at Yale. He serves on the Industry and Corporate Engagement (I&CE) committee at the University of Chicago’s Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering. He is on the Industry Advisory Board for Enterprise Systems at Penn State University, and the Dean’s Advisory Board at the University of North Texas. He is on the Board of Directors of the Chemical Marketing and Economics (CME) association serving industrial companies.

Shah speaks at global conferences and contributes to publications. He was interviewed by Forbes on Leadership and Culture. He was selected as a Thought Leader by IRI which represents multinational and government organizations. Shah has been a guest or keynote speaker on Leadership, Megatrends, and Value Creation at numerous international conferences including in North America, Europe, and Asia. He has authored articles in peer-reviewed and industry  publications. He is recognized as a “Top 100 Industry Influencer” by Retail Digest.

Cristi Stiers, Strategic Executive Advisor, SafeRock

Cristi Stiers is a Strategic Executive Advisor with Saferock and was previously President and CEO of ANGUS, Inc., formerly a DOW subsidiary (NYSE: DOW), now co-owned by private equity firms Ardian Partners ($110B AUM) and Golden Gate Capital ($14B AUM). She has worked in commodity chemicals, running the global Chlor-alkali business ($1.3B) for Dow Chemical and in specialty chemicals running the Home Care, I & I, and Personal Care Solutions business ($1.4B) for Dow. She has experience in the fine chemicals and custom manufacturing space for the pharmaceutical industry while working for FMC Lithium now Livent. Cristi advises private equity, investment firms, and chemicals companies in areas including M&A, the chemicals industry, business turnarounds, global operations, purchasing, supply chain, innovation, customer relationships and has spent 25 years in the chemical industry leading global businesses.

Board of Advisors

Craig Levra, Chief Operating Officer, Goodwill Southern California

Craig serves as COO and Executive Vice President at Goodwill Southern California. He is a recognized industry leader on corporate transformation, restructuring and growth. He served previously as Chairman and CEO of Sport Chalet, Inc., and the company’s shares traded on NASDAQ. It operated 55 full-service sporting goods stores in addition to a substantial online presence generating over $400 million in annual revenue. The company was twice named one of America’s 200 Best Small Companies by Forbes. Craig has also served on the Board of Directors of the National Retail Federation.

Brian Devine, Chairman Emeritus at Petco

Brian is a highly respected business leader in retail. He is Chairman Emeritus at PETCO Holdings, Inc. Under his leadership, the company grew from $80 million to several billion dollars in annual sales. Earlier, he served as SVP of Stores at Toys R Us, responsible for overall planning and strategy for the enterprise. The company grew from $20 million to $4.5 billion in sales during his tenure. Brian has served on the Board of the Retail Industry Leaders Association and the Board of the National Retail Federation.

Imran Ahmed, Managing Director, Amantea Investments Limited

Imran oversees SafeRock’s international activity in Middle East and Asia. Based in Dubai, he began his working career in the UAE in 1991, having spent seven years as an institutional buy-side analyst for a high profile sovereign family office in Abu Dhabi. He began his working career in the UAE in 1991 and has held key positions in institutional sales and marketing roles in a number of international firms from Dubai over the past fifteen years including Union Bancaire Privee, Jefferies & Banque SYZ. Currently he is an advisor to GII, a corporate finance and advisory boutique and he sits on the advisory board of OIAF a Hong Kong based private equity fund focused on investing in late stage/early growth Asian companies with disruptive technology.

Martin Anduschus, Anduschus Consulting

Martin leads Anduschus Consulting. He was previously Vice President of Arvato systems, a German based company that provides IT solutions for the Retail, Manufacturing, and Media sectors. He is an expert on ecommerce, omnichannel, big data and digitalization, and has consulted on these strategies for retail companies internationally for over 20 years. He is experienced in building ecommerce systems from inception to launch and has successfully launched a start-up whose revenue exceeded Euro 10 Million in 3 years. A published author and leader overseeing international sales and consulting teams, Martin is recognized as a strategic advisor and innovator in the retail industry.

Dr. Richard Federowski, Partner at Roland Berger

Dr. Richard Federowski is a specialist for the retail sector especially fashion, luxury and lifestyle business. He has completed Numerous projects in the retail industry including strategic, operational and financial restructuring, growth and distribution strategy, due diligence/market and competitive analysis, M&A and PMI. Richard’s career started in the banking industry, before he moved to Roland Berger, where he spent eight years in the restructuring team conducting multiple projects in retail and fashion. He continued his professional life at a DIY-retailer as Head of In-house Consulting/M&A and afterwards at a multi-brand fashion retailer in the position of Head of Executive Affairs & Strategic Projects, and as Head of Corporate Strategy. He holds a Master and Ph.D. in Economics from the Handelshochschule Leipzig.

Kathie Barclay, Founder at Barclay Marketing Solutions

Kathie Barclay is the founder of Barclay Marketing Solutions, specializing in direct-to-consumer marketing and loyalty programs.  Earlier, she launched one of the country’s first major loyalty marketing programs for retailer BevMo!, growing ClubBev! from zero to 500,000 members in four years.  After launching marketing and merchandising programs for several retailers, Kathie was the Senior Director of Marketing for Windsor Vineyards. She later led the direct marketing practice for Benson Marketing Group, where she created campaigns that drove direct-to-consumer sales for clients, resulting in annual revenue increases of 20%+.  Kathie is also a highly rated instructor for the Napa-based WISE Academy.

Richard E. Last, Founding Partner at Axcelora

Richard is one of the co-founders of Axcelora, connecting service providers with retailers. He retired from the University of North Texas in 2016 where he led the Digital Retailing degree program, and was Senior Director of their research center for Global Digital Retailing. Mr. Last has over 20 years of experience in Digital Retailing. Under his leadership, JCPenney began selling merchandise via the Web in Oct.1994, the first Department Store online, and by 2005, the first $Billion Apparel and Home Furnishings website. He also led JCP’s international expansion of its catalog business in the 90’s. From 2007-11, Mr. Last served as Chairman of Shop.org, He currently serves on the Editorial Boards of Total Retail and of Retail Touchpoints. He served on the National Retail Federation Board of Directors from 2004-08.

Ashley Whicher, Retail Expert

Ashley had an almost 37 year career in the Canadian retail industry working at the two largest department stores in the country. He held progressively more senior roles, notably as Group Vice President of Merchandising and Vice President of Marketing at both companies. Additionally, he ran the overseas buying operation leading the sourcing, planning and logistics functions for all businesses in the company. As a result of these positions, Ashley is uniquely qualified in the apparel, home and hardlines businesses. Ashley led the development of a data driven, analytic tool to better guide the marketing investment decisions at Canada’s leading department store. Ashley retired in the fall of 2015.

Rich Hollander, Managing Partner and Founder of Axcelora

Rich is the Managing Partner and Founder of Axcelora. Axcelora introduces B2B companies to retail and restaurant decision makers through a network of veteran retail and restaurant executives. Before forming Axcelora Rich was President of Buxton’s retail practice growing the division nearly 10-fold in his tenure there. For the first 25 years of his working career Rich was with Radio Shack/Tandy Corporation. Rising through the ranks of the company Rich became Vice President and General Manager of Incredible Universe. Envisioned by John Roach and Rich, the concept became the first retail concept to incorporate retail and entertainment in the same venue. Rich led the concept from inception to the first three years of operations leaving with a run rate approaching $1 billion dollars after just three years.

Rick Davis, Founder and CEO of Demand Chain AI

Rick Davis served at the Kellogg Company in numerous Vice President level roles regionally and globally, where he formed the Global Data Office and implemented enterprise data governance. He was responsible for leading numerous functions including Distribution, Logistics, Planning (Trade, Sales, Demand, Supply), Integrated Business Planning, Analytics, Sales Technology, Enterprise Data Strategy including MDM and Data Governance, and Reverse Logistics.