2020 STORE Conference Speakers
Chief Executive Officer
David became the fourth generation of his family to work in the shoe business when he joined the ALDO Group in 1996. The tradition dates back to his great-grandfather, who was a cobbler in Algeria in the 1800s. David is a first-generation Canadian born and raised in Montreal. His mother hails from Scotland and earned a one-way ticket to Canada as part of a Commonwealth immigration program. David’s father took a longer route, moving from Morocco to France to the US before landing in Montreal.
A lover of geopolitics and a real history buff, David holds a Bachelor of Arts (Hons.) with concentrations in Geography and History from Queen’s University and an MPhil in Land Economics from Cambridge University. Prior to joining the ALDO Group, David spent several years working in real estate development in the areas of commercial leasing and resort development.
David was appointed Chief Executive Officer of the ALDO Group in April 2017. Prior to becoming CEO, he spent two decades working in almost every corner of the business, from Operations to IT to Buying. In 2001, he took his first leap as an executive leader, heading the Call It Spring brand, where he tripled profits in a two-year period. Soon afterwards, David moved to the Aldo brand where he led the second wave of expansion in the US, opening 250 stores in just three years.
David played a key role in the ALDO Group’s omnichannel journey by leading several innovative in-store technology projects, improving the customer experience and using the eComm platform to its full extent.
In 2010, wanting to leverage the ALDO Group’s expertise in fashion footwear, David created ALDO Product Services (APS). This wholesale division was created to serve other retailers and quickly became a $100 million business in a matter of just 18 months. By 2017, APS proudly served many of the world’s largest retailers and (fun fact) helped them sell $1 billion worth of shoes.
David has also been an agent of change within the company, pioneering new business models and evolving core processes. His mantra, “make a big company feel small”, really embodies his leadership style, which translates into three key actions: be kind to ourselves and each other, strive for simplicity and make processes people-friendly.
As CEO, David has been driven since day one to elevate the company’s culture and to put into words why its people do what they do – their purpose. He built a team that looked at the DNA of its people; together they studied the company’s history and heritage and used its values as a foundation to define the ALDO Group’s purpose: A journey to create a world of love, confidence, and belonging.
A forward-thinking leader with progressive ideas, David’s commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility is one that stems from the ALDO Group’s values of Love, Respect and Integrity and cascades throughout all levels of the company. Under his direction, the company has put in progress a low carbon strategy and became the first fashion footwear and accessories company in the world to be certified as climate neutral for its offices and stores.
David and his wife Isabelle are parents to Logan, Sloan and Connor and reside in Montreal, Quebec. He is a firm believer in hands-on philanthropy and he has succeeded in pairing two of his greatest passions: his drive to give back and rally racing, by participating in a series of international racing events that helped raise over $200,000 for AIDS research. He and his wife are also dedicated to several charities, with the bulk of their efforts going towards improving education and health.
CEO and Chief Sustainability Officer
Michael’s journey with IKEA began with what started as a one-year internship program in 1986. From there he quickly progressed to hold various positions with increased responsibilities at IKEA Canada, and then moved onto IKEA globally where he held strategic leadership roles in Sweden, the Netherlands and the United States. Michael has a passion for retail with a proven track record of driving growth and leading through change on both a country and a global level.