Petco Introduces New CHRO and CSO
Petco (petco.com) appointed human resources
executive Michelle Bonfilio as chief human resources officer
(CHRO) and hired Justin Tichy as chief stores officer (CSO).
At a transformative time for both Petco and the
retail industry overall, investing in an
engaged, empowered and fulfilled
workforce is one of the company’s
key growth strategies. As CHRO,
Michelle will be responsible for driving
a people-first HR strategy that is
grounded in the company’s vision and
values, and directly correlated to Petco’s business roadmap.
As CSO, Tichy will oversee all operations and execution for
Petco’s retail locations across the U.S. and Puerto Rico.
“Our knowledgeable, pet-loving employees are this company’s single greatest asset and a key differentiator for our
business,” said Petco CEO Ron Coughlin. “Michelle is known
for developing progressive HR strategies and fostering
diverse, cohesive, high-impact cultures that promote both
employee engagement and business success. I’m excited to
welcome her to our leadership team and confident her point
of view will be invaluable as we work to further tap into our
team’s distinctive passion and unlock Petco’s full potential.”
Bonfilio brings more than 20 years of experience translating business objectives into comprehensive HR strategies
and initiatives that drive transformational growth. Prior to
joining Petco, she served as CHRO for The Wine Group,
LLC, the second-largest global producer of wine in the U.S.
Previously, she held senior leadership roles at Delta Dental
of California, Big Heart Pet Brands and Gap, Inc.
“As a pet parent myself, I share the passion and dedication that Petco partners have for animals—an attribute
that’s inherent to the company’s long history and a powerful
driver of the brand’s success,” said Bonfilio. “I look forward
to helping this team harness that passion to fuel ongoing
success and a culture that allows all of us to achieve both
individual and collective objectives.”
Tichy has more than 25 years of experience leading
high-energy, results-oriented teams and driving transformative growth at large, industry-leading retail organizations,
including Best Buy, Target and Wal-Mart. Most recently, he
served as president of sales at Confie, one of the largest
privately held insurance brokers in the nation.
“Justin is a proven sales and retail executive with an
impressive history of accelerating business growth through
operational excellence, delivering outstanding customer
experiences,” said Coughlin. “His strategic leadership,
value-added selling and services background, and extensive
experience managing large and successful retail operations,
are well suited for Petco’s path forward. I’m confident he’ll be
an instrumental addition to our leadership team.”
Pet Partners Hires New Staff
Pet Partners (petpartners.org) hired Dr. Taylor Johnson
and Jackie Vasquez-Theodorakis as national directors of
field relations. Their responsibilities will include supporting,
aligning and growing Pet Partners’ brand and identity at
local and regional levels.
“As our Therapy Animal
Program continues to expand,
it’s important that we’re able to
assist the growing needs of our
regional therapy animal teams and
community partners and provide
the necessary support to increase
local presence,” said Annie Peters,
president and CEO of Pet Partners.
Prior to joining Pet Partners, Dr.
Johnson served as victims services
coordinator for Ahimsa House, a
nonprofit dedicated to helping human and animal victims of
domestic violence across the state of Georgia.
Vasquez-Theodorakis served as the director for Gabriel’s
Angels, a nonprofit organization that works to inspire at-risk
children through pet therapy, before joining Pet Partners.
Pet Partners is the leader in improving human health
and well being through the human-animal bond, registering
nine species of animals with their human handlers as therapy
Dr. Taylor Johnson
APPA Makes Staffing Changes
The American Pet Products
Association (APPA) (americanpet
products.org) promoted an employee
and hired a new staff member.
Kaitlin Stewart, now in her sixth
year with APPA, has been promoted to
manager of trade show operations. In
her new role, she will oversee day-to-day operations for Global
Pet Expo and serve as a direct contact for all of the exhibitors.
During her time at APPA, Stewart played an instrumental
role in launching the APPA Young Professionals and recently
earned her certification in event management. She belongs
to the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) and
the International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE).
Stewart is also a founding member and vice chair of the Young
Professionals group of the IAEE New York Chapter, where she
was awarded a diamond award for her volunteer efforts.
Megan Rooney was hired as trade show coordinator for
APPA. Rooney brings several years of event experience and
will serve as a customer service representative to new trade
show exhibitors. In her role, she will assist first-time exhibitors through the trade show process to ensure a smooth
and successful event experience.
“On behalf of the APPA board and staff, we congratulate
Kate on her advancement within the Association and welcome Meg to the team,” said Andrew Darmohraj, executive
vice president and COO of APPA. “Kate has quickly emerged
as a leader at the Association and has played an integral role
in the success of our trade show. We look forward to both
of their contributions to Global Pet Expo and success in their
Merrick Pet Care Hires New CEO
Merrick Pet Care, Inc., (merrickpetcareinc.com) ap-
pointed marketing executive and current president Timothy
W. Simonds as CEO to lead the company through its next
phase of growth.
“There couldn’t be a better time for a collaborative and
results-driven leader like Tim to bring new energy and focus
to this business,” said former CEO Greg Shearson. “The
natural and organic pet care industry has become fiercely
competitive in recent years, and Tim’s ability to inspire others and build advocacy for our brands will help continue to
win the hearts and minds of the pet specialty shopper.”
Simonds brings more than 27 years of experience in
brand strategy and consumer marketing. He started with
Merrick in 2016 as vice president of marketing and was appointed president in March 2018. Prior to Merrick, Simonds
was chief marketing and engagement officer at the Kellogg
School of Management and held various senior leadership
roles at GE and United Airlines.
Shearson will remain with Merrick in an advisory role to
help assist with the transition. He’ll also continue to represent the company on the board of the Pet Food Institute.
Ziwi Hires New Territory Manager
Ziwi (ziwipets.com) hired Cindy Talbott as the territory
manager of the Great Lakes area.
As the newest member of Ziwi’s
North American field team, Talbott will
manage a sales territory that encom-passes several states bordering the Great
Lakes, as well as Eastern Canada.
Talbott graduated from Baldwin Wallace College with a degree in business administration and has spent her entire career in outside sales.
She brings a wealth of knowledge to the Ziwi team, and her
passion for helping pet owners and retailers understand the
important role nutrition plays in promoting optimum health
and vitality makes representing Ziwi’s premium products a
perfect fit for her.
Talbott was born and raised in Northern Ohio and currently resides near Cleveland with her family, which includes
a morkie that rules the house and a golden retriever who