PROFILE

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.

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  • Posted on: 04/19/2019

    Sears Holdings sues Eddie Lampert for illegally stripping retailer of its assets

    I’m shocked (gasp) at these new revelations. Carving out the crumbling edifice that once was Sears, in the full light of day, was orchestrated by and executed with full board support. Boards of directors have two fundamental fiduciary duties: the duty of care and the duty of loyalty. The duty of care requires that board members exercise reasonable care and act as would be expected by a reasonable person in similar circumstances; did they follow a reasonable process and make good faith decisions? The duty of loyalty requires that board members put the institution’s best interests ahead of their own or a specific individual’s interests. Against that governance background, there’s sufficient doubt that proper business judgement was exercised; The real question is cui bono, or who benefits? That’s the narrative that will emerge and stick in due time.
  • Posted on: 04/16/2019

    Why is Five Below a step above?

    When you can bring deep value (bulk purchases and dollar store model) and fun shopping (treasure hunt in non-staple categories) together to an underserved segment, you greatly increase your likelihood of success. Five Below has executed well as they’ve captured the imagination of their young target segment. Expecting to maintain current merchandising strategy intact, the company has to manage comp store growth with new store openings at the same time as managing capital market expectations for EPS growth and future share price increases.
  • Posted on: 04/16/2019

    Hubert Joly: New Best Buy CEO has the right stuff to lead chain to new heights

    Corie Barry’s reputation inside Best Buy is stellar. She has an obvious solid grasp on the business and the transformation strategy beyond the finance lens. She did a great job as interim president of the Geek Squad and is considered a strong people leader. When you consider that Best Buy has more women in senior leadership than most large companies and double the share of women on their board of directors, one finds that this decision by Hubert Joly is not surprising at all. It’s full speed ahead with the right skipper in charge maintaining a steady course, yet fully tested to weather any future storms.
  • Posted on: 04/15/2019

    Autonomous vehicles take test drives around distribution centers

    Smart robotics, informed by machine learning, will bring efficiencies to the variability that exist in distribution center processes while relieving the tight labor pool. Leading examples include Amazon and the Kroger/Ocado partnership. Increasing real-time processing power and even machine to machine and DC to DC machine learning will bring flexibility and efficiencies to retail and e-commerce distribution centers in ways that only manufacturing processes had previously enjoyed.
  • Posted on: 04/11/2019

    Will more consumers listen now that Macy’s has a new STORY to tell?

    The energy and driving force behind the STORY concept takes a radical departure from the traditional tenets of retailing as it unshackles the imagination and creates a sense of wonder. The juxtaposition within a department store, even a progressive one such as Macy’s, will further differentiate the offering and experience. This will become a destination and the new conversation at and about Macy’s. By itself, the STORY concept cannot make a significant impact on the company’s financial results; however, taking learning cues from it and judiciously applying to wider merchandising and presentation strategies can truly re-imagine the department store as we have come to know it. There’s new DNA in the department store gene pool, and that is a good thing!
  • Posted on: 04/10/2019

    Madewell is on the way up, J.Crew is not

    Jeff has nailed it!
  • Posted on: 04/10/2019

    Will retailers see more rewards from multi-banner loyalty programs?

    It’s time for companies to unlock more of the potential synergies that exist across their portfolio of banners. This latest cross-banner approach takes the usual play on back office consolidation and efficiency to the front office without jeopardizing the unique branding of each banner. Consumers will find it of value if they do cross the existing banners as in the natural Footlocker family, rather than in the case of where the combined banners may dilute each brand’s unique value. The latter situation may result from prior M&A activities but is certainly addressable via sound corporate and marketing strategies.
  • Posted on: 04/03/2019

    Okay Google, how can you help grow Walmart’s online grocery business?

    In the coming years, conversational commerce will become as natural as clicking through a website or app. For the near term business horizon of 1-2 years, I expect a doubling of voice capable smart speakers in use and continued improvements in capabilities. Walmart is smart to infuse speed and agility in their strategy by partnering with a well funded and established platform in the race to redefine customer convenience and value.
  • Posted on: 04/02/2019

    Will IKEA become the world’s largest furniture rental outlet?

    This move by IKEA is analogous to the one by the auto industry after World War II to popularize leasing in lieu of outright purchase. This reduced the financial hurdle and increased unit turnover. It may take a few years, but we’ll look back and wonder what all the commotion was about back in 2019. To put a slight variation on what Dave wrote, “welcome to the circular economy.”
  • Posted on: 04/02/2019

    Again, Amazon attempts to shed Whole Foods’ high price image

    When customers enter Whole Foods, they are greeted by the fresh produce area. I’m a regular shopper for their fish selection and have to walk through the fruits and vegetables displays as I wonder why would one pay a premium compared to Trader Joe’s or Sprouts. When it comes to fresh items, your margins are highly influenced by waste - what you throw away because of inherent perishability. Pricing is a marker of quality but competitors today do offer an equivalent proposition with higher value. Amazon is simply taking some early actions as it works to find its sea legs in an evolving store-based grocery strategy.
  • Posted on: 03/22/2019

    Target plans to speed grab-and-go purchases with ‘Snack Bar’

    Agree! The prism through which all this makes sense and should be assessed against is the vision "America's easiest store to shop." It doesn't compete with online websites but it makes it clear that if you go to a store, it will be the easiest one to shop and that includes short (or no) checkout lines.
  • Posted on: 03/22/2019

    Are smartphones too personal for work?

    It comes down to data risks versus higher in-store cost structure. The National Law Review article clearly states the legal vs. risk debate and helps inform the decision. Consider the data type and perishability of the information you are making available to your store associates while quantifying the financial risks of any loss. In some ways, retailers need to address company data "privacy" in terms of delivering the best possible customer experience and doing it with high efficiency and effectiveness. Properly constructed, BYOD is a terrific initiative that improves customer service, is cost effective, and further engenders trust with your workforce.
  • Posted on: 03/22/2019

    Are people investments paying off for retailers?

    It's very difficult to tease out and tie a specific cause to short term financial results. But I view the rising investments in people as an absolute requirement for the success of any strategy and its execution. In many ways technology is available to industry participants, however, differentiation comes from how you select and combine that technology and put it in the hands of your employees (at headquarters and in-store) and in customer facing interactions. As long as shopping is predominantly done by humans rather than bots, companies will need to invest in people to enrich those moments of impact that connect a transaction to a long-term relationship.
  • Posted on: 03/13/2019

    Does new retail need a new prototype?

    Great piece Jeff! This is the type of new thinking necessary to explore future potential. Maybe another way of looking at prototypes is how they do come together. It's not a store design experiment in a vacuum, but one that integrates design, assortment, visual and signage, technology, and training in a customer centric environment. There has to be more focus on changing the internal organizational structure to effect a seamless cross departmental effort to match the external goal of a "seamless" customer experience.
  • Posted on: 03/12/2019

    What does innovation mean to retailers and brands?

    The value and starting point of innovation resides firmly in the customer perspective. Sure the consumer may not have known that they needed an iPhone a dozen years ago, but you can't innovate successfully without such consideration. The challenge for most retailers and technology partners is that the starting point is usually a product, collection, or assortment on one side or a set of new technologies. Just as we are experiencing a rise in everything associated with artificial intelligence, we need to also emphasize the humanities and social sciences. That's the current weak link in turning capabilities-based innovations into consumer-led ones and subsequent communication and adoption.

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