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QVC and HSN owner’s new chief brings ranks of Black Fortune 500 CEOs to 5

July 14, 2021, 3:52 PM UTC

Qurate Retail, the parent company of QVC and HSN, said on Tuesday that its next chief will be David Rawlinson II, an executive who will bring the number of Black CEOs in the Fortune 500 back up to five.

Rawlinson, an executive at market research company NielsenIQ and, before that, at industrial parts maker W.W. Grainger, will take the helm on Oct. 1 after a two-month stint during which he will be president and CEO-elect. He succeeds Mike George, the longtime Qurate CEO on whose watch the company made strides in building its e-commerce to rely less on home television shopping. George had been CEO of QVC since 2004 and remained in the post when it became Qurate following its acquisition of HSN. Qurate, which also owns Zulily, ranked No. 216 on the most recent Fortune 500 list with more than $14 billion in revenue.

With his move, Rawlinson will join Walgreens Boots Alliance’s Roz Brewer, Lowe’s Marvin Ellison, M&T Bank’s René Jones, and TIAA’s Thasunda Brown Duckett in the ranks of Black CEOs in the Fortune 500. Merck’s Ken Frazier stepped down at the end of June.

Rawlinson will have his work cut out for him. In 2020, Qurate’s revenue rose a modest 5%, with growth at the QVC and HSN businesses even smaller, despite an e-commerce boom stoked by the pandemic. What’s more, even as Qurate continues to move away from selling on television, it is facing ever more competition from retailers doing more and more live streaming, and shopping moving to social media.

In 2017, QVC bought HSN to compete more aggressively with Amazon. For a while, Qurate was the third-largest online retailer in the country. But by 2020, it fell out of the top 10, according to eMarketer.

Rawlinson’s mandate will be to accelerate Qurate’s shift to e-commerce and adaptation to new shopping behaviors. “QVC and HSN pioneered home shopping and are now set to define a new world of seamless shopping,” Rawlinson said in a statement. It will be up to him to figure out exactly how.

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