Mohamed Amer

Independent Board Member, Investor and Startup Advisor

Living in Southern California, Mohamed is keen on applying his corporate and entrepreneurial executive leadership across strategy, technology, and communications in the service of progressive boards of directors, c-suites, and startup companies.

Building teams and driving results spanning multiple industry sectors and domains, Mohamed brings successful experience in public and private sectors across mission-critical operational, supply chain, strategy, communications, and technology roles.  He is a highly trusted coach and advisor for senior executives and entrepreneurs in the technology and consumer-facing industries.

During his tenure at SAP, Mohamed held several senior roles that included leading the solution footprint, M&A, and go-to-market strategy for the global grocery business, and developing the future supply chain product area for retail. While leading the Retail Business Unit in the Americas, he supported business development, key customer implementations, and strategic relationships as well as managing key user groups and executive customer councils. He also led internal and external communication roles across multiple sectors and most recently having responsibility for executive communications in SAP’s Office of the Co-Presidents.

Prior to SAP, Mohamed was co-founder and President of NEXstep, an Internet supply chain software startup which was acquired by Viewlocity.  He also held leadership positions in the retail management consultancy, Kurt Salmon Associates (acquired by Accenture) with extensive Retail and CPG client engagements as well as general management roles in the office products industry at Boise Cascade and Buhrmann-Tetterode.

Mohamed held a commission with the US Navy (Lieutenant Commander – naval aviation and naval intelligence) and has earned an MBA at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, an MA in National Security Affairs at the US Naval Postgraduate School, and an MA in Human and Organizational Systems at Fielding Graduate University.

  • Posted on: 09/04/2019

    Will Walmart’s customers accept its rejection of the firearms ‘status quo’?

    Well stated, Ian. During my teen age years, I spent some summers on the farm in the upper Midwest. While I tried various gauge shotguns, I loved my .22 rifle to target shoot and small game hunting. As a military officer, I earned the U.S. Navy Expert Pistol Shot Medal. I was and still am proud of that medal. I have a healthy respect for guns and what they can do as well as holding a strong belief in the absolute necessity for stringent ownership controls. No one needs an arsenal in their home or access to military grade killing machines.
  • Posted on: 09/04/2019

    Will Walmart’s customers accept its rejection of the firearms ‘status quo’?

    As members of a community, retailers have a responsibility to their customers and neighbors. It simply cannot be reduced to a transactional world where profit at any cost reigns. We use the “hidden hand” of the market logic to rationalize getting on the eventual correct path. Such economic rationale has an absolute place in our society, yet there are situations when it needs help when harm, abuse, and fear set in due to inaction and leadership is called upon to mitigate the consequences. Under the leadership of Doug McMillon, Walmart is doing the right thing which may well introduce the common sense necessary for a much calmer and more constructive approach to this national issue.
  • Posted on: 08/26/2019

    Will Disney shops entertain guests inside Target’s stores?

    Target and Disney are two strong and popular brands. For Disney, they will increase exposure to their products in a highly controlled presentation setting that protects the Disney brand. For Target, they are adding a marquee name that is valued by their core shopper adding another reason to visit the store and affirm the shopper’s connection to the Target banner. I don’t see Target going out and doing this with dozens of other brands, it would dilute Target’s cachet and turn it to an untenable and undesirable real estate play. This is a win-win for the two companies on top of the added convenience and access for the consumer.
  • Posted on: 08/26/2019

    Trump’s tariff war escalates

    I’d rather not pile on the flagrantly obvious effects of the trade war. Perhaps less obvious are the unintended consequences for smaller retailers that cannot survive with or without passing on their higher costs. The low cost leaders will gain market share while simultaneously establishing new supply flows that will further strengthen their relative and absolute positions. Lastly, once consumers slow down their spending, then the pumping heart of our economy will sputter and threaten to flatline. Nothing good or easy here, yet converging on retailers are two distinct realities - one formed around transactions in a zero sum game, the other realized through the centuries in the long view of civilizations.
  • Posted on: 08/21/2019

    Organizational culture shapes digital transformation

    Reluctance or inability to adopt new technology to evolve the business is a marker for a much deeper and often fatal flaw: a closed mindset anchored in an outdated view of the world by the C-suite and board. Change, especially when it touches the very core of any organization, can disorient and challenge not only hierarchies and turfs but the most accepted common sense. Technology is the canary in the coal mine. While Peter Drucker is credited with the saying that culture eats strategy for breakfast and Marc Andreessen about software eating the world, what we have here is that culture eats software for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
  • Posted on: 08/20/2019

    Is technology really making stores more like the web?

    Consumers love the convenience of the web - a 24/7 medium of exploration and discovery. They also love to touch and feel products or to coordinate outfits with immediate gratification of a take home purchase. Technology is not making stores like the web, rather it is bringing new levels of convenience and shopping ease. The store is a unique space to redefine and create new shopping and social experiences. Success on the web is achieved when it brings people together to share, discover, and enhance - and not replace- our physical lives and experiences.
  • Posted on: 08/20/2019

    Can local artists help Target create community support?

    The more that national chains can tailor their stores to integrate the image of the brand with the local flavor and its unique culture and identity, the greater they can be embraced and identified as part of that community. Localized assortments have been in the works for years, extending that mindset to store design and visual merchandising can be winning move. While the "what" here is clear, executing on the "how" will determine its true success.
  • Posted on: 08/16/2019

    Can Jill Soltau rebuild J.C. Penney?

    Late is so relative. At this point, the actions are drastic but not impossible. On top of the typical retail issues of managing inventory, introducing fresh brands and styles, and enhancing the shopping experience, the J.C. Penney team must clear out some really big boulders: debt refinancing, lackluster online sales, and driving traffic to their physical stores, which is becoming a fundamental issue for mall-based retailers. Each of these elements need not be fatal; however, simultaneously addressing a cluster of them requires making a series of quick and near perfect decisions with flawless execution. Jill Soltau and her team have the talent and the will, but time and the tariff trade policy uncertainties are not on their side.
  • Posted on: 08/15/2019

    New site wants to make independent grocery jobs into careers

    Low wages translate to entry level jobs and higher employee turnover. Those characteristics do not change through a national job board. Careers are about perceived future prospects of personal growth in a healthy, growing segment of an industry. So the NGA’s national job board is an excellent way to provide transparency and a sense of belonging for those in the industry already, I’m less optimistic about it capturing the attention and imagination of future employees. Independent grocers are well connected to their communities - that is their strength. Attracting and keeping talent must start locally with ongoing investment in employee education, training, and pay so those early entrants can more easily imagine a potential career.
  • Posted on: 08/14/2019

    Will Kohl’s shoppers like the ‘emerging brands’ chosen by Facebook users?

    Kohl’s is going full throttle on the digital-social front while simultaneously integrating the new initiatives with traditional physical processes and loyalty programs. I admire the company’s willingness to experiment, iterate, assess, and integrate the learnings into new offerings that tap emerging social and purchase behaviors. Kohl’s has no shortages of ideas whose potential is only limited by how well and how fast they can execute and scale.
  • Posted on: 08/13/2019

    Grocers develop their own tech responses to Amazon Go

    Eliminating the checkout bugaboo will create a huge win/win for grocer and customer. Self checkout is a variation on the current process, checkout-free technology completely reinvents the process and challenges your the underlying business assumptions. To compete and thrive, regional grocers must invest in their stores, update their assortments, and stay in tune with tech advances. Of course it’s sensible and necessary for regional grocers to pilot check-out experiences. The alternative is to watch their market share sink with negative sales comps, stubborn fixed costs, and even lower net margins. Applying technology to the customer experience race, you can never out run the competition unless you redefine the game.
  • Posted on: 08/13/2019

    Is Nike’s new subscription program for kids a parent’s best friend?

    Brands are experimenting with subscriptions to get more certainty around future revenues. Ideal products are consumer essentials with predictable usage patterns -- for each consumer and in the aggregate for brands. The downside is that these programs identify upfront the monetary commitment, elevates consumer awareness of the overall cost while creating a perception of being “locked-in” to the decision. Nike is certainly addressing these with variable monthly rates, easy returns, immediate shipments of new shoes, and flexibility in number of sneakers received over a fixed period. They’re making it super convenient (time savings) and easy to participate in the program. By partnering with KaBoom to create content and activities in each box, Nike is enhancing the brand value for parents and kids. Donating the returned used sneakers will further boost Nike’s cache on key dimensions of corporate responsibility and sustainability. This is a good experiment with a solid targeted segment and is likely to get tweaked overtime so it best serves both consumers and company.
  • Posted on: 07/31/2019

    Kroger to make customers pay for cash-back debit card payments

    Kroger, like any other company, can price their products as they wish, charge (non-regulated) fees as they please, and otherwise run their business in a way that achieves desired financial targets. On the other hand, consumers are free to make choices as to where, how, and with whom they spend their money. It’s the brilliance of our market system. Where that fails us is when the retailer has a locational monopoly or exclusive access to and distribution of basic products. Otherwise, both retailer and consumer will benefit: those consumers that value the convenience and the service provider boosting their razor thin margin. Back to Kroger, I’d want to make sure that I wasn’t losing some core grocery shopping business in pursuit of incremental pennies on the dollar. Wouldn’t want an additional revenue stream to inadvertently harm my core business. And why not reward loyalty members by eliminating or reducing those convenience fees? Will the competition turn into copycats or will they turn it to their advantage by casting Kroger as the main villain in a heartless nickel-and-dime narrative? I’m betting on the latter - Kroger is handing the competition a golden opportunity to tarnish the brand.
  • Posted on: 07/29/2019

    Is private equity ownership killing retail?

    Private Equity firms have a role in our economy and as an investor class, they have their own risk/reward appetite. Not every deal they enter will end in bankruptcy nor be wildly successful. PE firms take on a significantly higher risk structure that by definition anticipates some failures. Lacking the role private equity firms play in the economy, we would be witnessing at least the same, if not a higher, bankruptcy rate and job losses. PE firms end up doing what previous management could not, or would not, do to have a chance at turning a profit and adding jobs. The “cause” of the pain in this scenario is not the PE firm, it’s the old management suite and the board of directors.
  • Posted on: 07/26/2019

    Your company has a vision: Why can’t everyone see it?

    Well stated, Ian! Goals are measurable, economic; vision represents a deeper meaning of one’s existence. The two must be connected through actions facilitated by organizational culture.

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