by Meridith Levinson

On the Move – Cara Kinzey Joins RadioShack

Jul 01, 20062 mins

In March, RadioShack hired Cara Kinzey as its senior VP of IT. Kinzey, who joined the Fort Worth–based retailer from Sam’s Club (a division of Wal-Mart), is the third person in 13 months to hold the top IT post.

Kinzey replaced Don Vietti, who left his job as CIO of the consumer electronics retailer in February to join Carlson Restaurants Worldwide as its new CIO. Vietti had been appointed CIO a year earlier, upon the retirement of then-CIO Evelyn Follit.

The turnover at RadioShack stems from the company’s recent financial challenges and the subsequent changes the board has made to top management. Last year was especially tumultuous: RadioShack’s profits declined 21 percent in 2005. To make matters worse, its previous CEO, David Edmondson, was forced to resign earlier this year after the Fort Worth Star-Telegram revealed that he had lied about his college degree on his resume.

Breck Ray, president of executive search firm Ray Partners, which recruited Kinzey to RadioShack, says Kinzey’s hire is part of an effort to bring new blood into the organization (current CEO Claire Babrowski joined RadioShack from McDonald’s, another company that’s been through a high-profile turnaround). “RadioShack has been seeding its leadership with outsiders who come from forward-thinking, contemporary organizations,” Ray says. Kinzey, as Sam’s Club’s VP of membership, executed a strategy to beef up the retailer’s membership at a time when its numbers were dropping.

In addition to her Wal-Mart pedigree, Ray says, Kinzey’s business experience impressed RadioShack. He notes that she worked in customer service, accounting, internal audit and strategy development before moving into IT and then marketing. Says Ray, “She can see IT from the perspective of the guys running the stores, from the perspective of the merchandisers and from the perspective of the CFO’s office because she’s sat on their side of the [desk].”