Foot Locker Eyes D2C Gains With Ulta Beauty CEO Pick

Foot Locker
In a bid to raise it omnichannel retailing game, Foot Locker has named former Ulta Beauty CEO Mary N. Dillon as its new chief executive.

Dillon has more than 35 years of experience leading consumer-driven businesses, Foot Locker said in a Friday (Aug. 19) news release, pointing to her “deep consumer marketing and digital transformation expertise.” In her eight years as Ulta CEO, she helped transform the company into “a successful omnichannel retailer with a best-in-class loyalty program,” per the release.

The change comes as apparel giant Nike has begun expanding its own retail presence through direct-to-consumer (D2C) sales, while also limiting inventory to retailers such as Foot Locker.

Related: Nike Building ‘Marketplace of the Future,’ With More D2C and Fewer Markdowns

Dillon will replace Richard A. Johnson, who is set to retire as president and CEO Sept. 1 after three decades with the company.

Johnson has been CEO since 2014 and led Foot Locker’s digital transformation and expansion into new regions, the company said in its news release. He also saw a $2 billion increase in sales between 2014 and 2021.

“We have turned a brick-and-mortar company into an interactive retail community poised for long-term growth in the digital era,” Johnson said in the release.

See also: Foot Locker’s Champs Sports Enters Experiential Retail Game in Bid to Compete With Dick’s, Nike

Johnson’s time with Foot Locker saw the company embark on ventures such as its recent Champ Sports “store of the future” concept. Based in South Florida, the 35,000-square-foot-space offers an indoor multi-sport court, a smoothie bar, TVs in the store aisles and a wellness shopping section where customers can play and shop at the same time.

Read more: Foot Locker Gains Stronger Foothold in Athletic Retail Market

Also Friday, Footlocker announced a “connected industry” partnership with digital sports platform Fanatics that “will significantly broaden the officially-licensed fan gear and merchandise assortment available online to Foot Locker shoppers,” the companies said.

According to a news release, the partnership — set to launch in the fall — gives shoppers on,, and access to a substantial portion of Fanatics licensed sports merchandise, including apparel, jerseys, headwear and hard goods across brands that include Fanatics, Nike, Adidas, Mitchell & Ness, New Era, Pro Standard and WEAR by Erin Andrews.

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