Global Leadership Team
David A. Brandon
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
David A. Brandon joined Toys“R”Us, Inc. in July 2015 as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. He leads the organization of 62,000 employees in leveraging the strength of the Toys“R”Us brand and positioning the global franchise of more than 1,800 stores in 38 countries for long-term profitable growth.
Mr. Brandon has deep experience in growing businesses, developing talent and building high-performance cultures that enable organizations to create and capture value. As Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Domino’s Pizza for 11 years, he led the company to unprecedented profit growth and the successful completion of the largest initial public offering in restaurant history, which subsequently doubled Domino’s enterprise value to $2.5 billion. Mr. Brandon has remained Chairman of the Board of Domino’s as the company has further grown its value to over $7 billion.
Prior to his tenure at Domino’s, Mr. Brandon served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Valassis Communications for nine years, a period during which he made significant improvements in its operational performance and led the company’s transition from a private family-owned business to a publicly-traded industry leader of media and marketing services.
Earlier in his career, Mr. Brandon spent five years with Procter & Gamble Co., one of the leading providers of consumer packaged goods worldwide, in roles of increasing responsibility. He most recently served for nearly five years as Director of Intercollegiate Athletics for his alma mater, the University of Michigan.
Mr. Brandon received a bachelor’s degree in speech communications from the University of Michigan, where he attended on a football scholarship and was the member of three Big Ten Championship teams. In addition to serving as Chairman of the Board of Domino’s, currently he is a member of the Board of Directors of DTE Energy Company and Herman Miller, Inc.
Executive Vice President, Global Chief Merchandising Officer
As Executive Vice President, Global Chief Merchandising Officer, Toys“R”Us, Inc., Richard Barry is responsible for delivering a coordinated strategic approach to all merchandising decisions for the company’s business worldwide. He provides leadership as the Chair of the company’s Global Commercial Committee, which takes a unified view in working with business partners to develop key merchandising and licensing partnerships, and in identifying product trends and innovation to advance its authority position. He also leads the “R”Us Brands team, which includes product development, brand management and the company’s China Sourcing Office.
In the U.S., Mr. Barry is responsible for all toy merchandising and store planning initiatives for the more than 860 Toys“R”Us and Babies“R”Us locations nationwide. In this capacity, he leads a team of merchants in discovering new product categories and hot items to drive strategic merchandising programs.
During his 30-year tenure at Toys“R”Us, which spans roles across the U.S. and the U.K., he has accumulated broad experience in all aspects of sales, operations and merchandising, through positions of increasing seniority. Mr. Barry joined Toys“R”Us, Inc. in 1985 as a part-time employee in the U.K., and in 2004, he was promoted to Merchandising Director for Toys“R”Us, International, where he managed buying decisions for categories including Video Games, Electronics, Learning and Sports.
The following year, Mr. Barry was appointed Vice President, Divisional Merchandising Manager for the Learning, Electronics and Entertainment businesses for the company’s U.S. toy stores. In 2010, he was named Vice President, General Merchandising Manager, Toys“R”Us, U.S., overseeing the Learning, Electronics and Entertainment product categories. Mr. Barry was promoted to Senior Vice President, Chief Merchandising Officer, Toys“R”Us, U.S., in February 2012, and was subsequently named to his current position in October of the same year.
Mr. Barry serves on the Board of the Entertainment Merchants Association. In addition, he was elected to the Board of Directors for the Toy Industry Association in February 2013, the Toy Industry Foundation in February 2014 and the International Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association in June 2015.
Executive Vice President, Global Chief Talent Officer
As Executive Vice President, Global Chief Talent Officer, Toys“R”Us, Inc., Tim Grace oversees all global human resources functions, including organizational design, talent acquisition, succession planning, learning, change management and labor and employee relations, as well as compensation and benefits. In championing the company’s 66,000 team members around the world, he fosters a results-oriented culture where talent thrives.
Mr. Grace previously served as Group Vice President, Human Resources, L’Oreal Group, where he led all human resources functions across North and South America. Prior to that, he spent 12 years at Schindler Elevator Corporation as Senior Vice President, Human Resources and Administration. In this role, Mr. Grace was responsible for human resources in the Americas, and led many initiatives designed to ensure innovative and progressive human resources practices throughout the entire global organization. Earlier in his career, he held various senior human resources roles at Wise Foods, Diageo (formerly Grand Metropolitan) and in the Frito Lay division of PepsiCo.
Mr. Grace received a bachelor’s degree in industrial psychology from the State University of New York at Fredonia and Master of Science in Industrial and Labor Relations from West Virginia University.
Dr. Wolfgang Link
As President, Toys“R”Us, Europe, Dr. Wolfgang Link oversees the company’s business throughout the continent, including 345 stores and nine e-commerce sites. In this role, Dr. Link has broad responsibility for marketing, merchandising, store operations, e-commerce and customer service excellence. Additionally, he is the Chairman of the company’s European Management Board.
Dr. Link joined Toys“R”Us, Inc. in August 2007 as Managing Director, Toys“R”Us, Central Europe, directing business activities for approximately 95 stores in Austria, Germany, Switzerland and Poland, where he spearheaded the company’s successful market entry in 2011. During his tenure with the company, he has been instrumental in strengthening and developing the company’s Central European business. Dr. Link was promoted to his current position and appointed to the company’s Global Executive Committee in October 2013. Since that time, he has led the organization in adopting a pan-European approach for its business operations across the continent.
Prior to joining the company, Dr. Link spent three years as Managing Director, Specialty Stores at ElectronicPartner, a leading retail services and buying organization in consumer electronics, appliances, information technology/multimedia and telecommunications. In this capacity, he was responsible for the operation of more than 200 stores in Germany, Hungary and Turkey. He also served as one of four members of the company’s Executive Board. Earlier in his career, Dr. Link spent eight years at the METRO Cash and Carry Group, one of the top five worldwide retail groups, serving in a variety of leadership roles, including Assistant Manager to the CEO; Vice President, Marketing and Corporate Development; and Managing Director, Sales and Marketing, in Austria and Spain. Before entering the retail industry, Dr. Link spent three years as an Assistant Professor to the Chair of International Management at the University of Ingolstadt in Germany.
Dr. Link earned his bachelor’s degree and Masters of Business Administration from the University of Nuremberg and his doctorate of philosophy in international management from the University of Ingolstadt, both in Germany.
Executive Vice President, Special Assistant/Office of the Chairman
As Executive Vice President, Special Assistant/Office of the Chairman, Kevin Macnab provides overall support to the leadership team, ensuring collaboration and alignment across all functions in driving the company’s growth strategy. He also provides leadership for the company’s 82 stores in Canada, as well as its e-commerce business.
Mr. Macnab joined the company in 2000 and served for seven years as Vice President of Finance, Real Estate and Information Technology for Toys“R”Us, Canada. He was promoted to President, Toys“R”Us, Canada in 2007. In this capacity, he has successfully led the company’s growth and category leadership in Canada by continually seeking opportunities to increase market share through omnichannel strategies and new store growth, as well as customer-centric store designs and layouts. He was named to his current role in September 2015.
Previously, Mr. Macnab spent 20 years in the retail and finance industries, working in the United Kingdom and Canada, where he held leadership positions at PricewaterhouseCoopers, Marks and Spencer and D’Allaird’s Stores.
Mr. Macnab earned a bachelor’s degree with honors in business from De Montfort University in Leicester, U.K., and a Chartered Accountant certification from PricewaterhouseCoopers in London.
Mr. Macnab currently serves on the Board of the Retail Council of Canada and on the Board of Autism Speaks Canada.
Toys"R"Us, Asia Pacific
As President, Toys“R”Us, Asia Pacific, Monika Merz oversees all operations and business activities for the company’s growing number of stores in Japan, Southeast Asia, Greater China and Australia. In this role, she is responsible for the continued growth, profitability and success of the company in these markets. Ms. Merz leads a team of talented executives in asserting the company’s position as the world’s leading dedicated toy and baby products retailer.
Ms. Merz joined the company in 1996 as Vice President and General Manager, Toys“R”Us, Canada. She served in this role until 2000, when she was promoted to President, Toys“R”Us, Canada. In this capacity, she introduced the company’s first integrated store format, which combines Toys“R”Us and Babies“R”Us stores under one roof. Today, these convenient, one-stop shopping destinations have opened in countries throughout the world.
In November 2007, Ms. Merz assumed leadership of Toys“R”Us, Japan, which was a publicly traded company on the Jasdaq until the late spring of 2010. With 161 Toys“R”Us and Babies“R”Us stores, Japan represents the largest number of wholly owned stores in the company’s international portfolio, and Ms. Merz continues to lead the successful integration and growth of the toy and baby products businesses in this country as Representative Director and President & Chief Executive Officer of Toys“R”Us, Japan, a capacity in which she serves concurrently.
In 2011, Ms. Merz’s role was expanded to include responsibility for the company’s stores in Australia. And, later that year, Ms. Merz gained oversight of the company’s locations and corporate offices in Southeast Asia and Greater China when the company entered a joint venture agreement with Li & Fung to operate these formerly licensed stores. As part of her role, Ms. Merz serves as chairperson during meetings of the boards of directors of the joint venture as well as Toys“R”Us, Japan.
Ms. Merz has a strong background in the retail industry. Prior to joining Toys“R”Us, she held various roles in merchandising, store operations, supply chain and marketing with several companies, including Hudson’s Bay Company and Costco, as well as a specialty clothing chain and a catalog retailer.
Ms. Merz serves as co-chair of the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan’s CEO Forum and previously served as co-chair of the Women in Leadership subcommittee. She was named “Leader of the Year” by the ACCJ in 2012 and again in 2014 in recognition of her work in these roles, among other contributions to the Chamber. In addition, in 2011 she was honored with the Dale Carnegie International Leadership Award for outstanding leadership in human resources development. Previously, Ms. Merz was a member of the Board of the Starlight Children’s Foundation in Canada. She also served as the Vice Chair of the Retail Council of Canada and headed the Government Relations Committee for Retailers for the Retail Council of Canada.
Ms. Merz is a Canadian citizen and earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Guelph in the province of Ontario.
David J. Schwartz
Executive Vice President, General Counsel, Corporate Secretary
As Executive Vice President, General Counsel, Toys“R”Us, Inc., David Schwartz is responsible for all legal and regulatory affairs within the company and serves as the Corporate Secretary to the boards of Toys“R”Us, Inc. and its subsidiaries. Mr. Schwartz oversees a team of attorneys who perform numerous legal functions in a variety of practice areas, including real estate, employment and labor, intellectual property, litigation, regulatory compliance and securities. He also manages the company’s international licensed store operations and leads its global Safety and Quality Assurance program as Chairman of the Global Product Safety Policy Committee.
Mr. Schwartz joined Toys“R”Us, Inc. in 2001 as Vice President, Corporate Counsel, and was promoted to Deputy General Counsel in 2002. In this role, he became responsible for managing the organization’s legal department. Mr. Schwartz was named Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary in 2003, and in 2008, was appointed to the Executive Committee. He subsequently assumed responsibility for the organization’s Safety and Quality Assurance program. Mr. Schwartz was promoted to Executive Vice President in 2009.
Prior to joining Toys“R”Us, Inc., Mr. Schwartz was a corporate partner at Anderson, Kill & Olick, P.C., where he specialized in mergers and acquisitions and the formation of private investment funds.
Mr. Schwartz holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Duke University, a Juris Doctor from the University of Pennsylvania School of Law and a Masters of Business Administration from Columbia University Business School. In 2012, Mr. Schwartz was named a “Top General Counsel” by ExecRank, the definitive ranking service of leading executives.
Mr. Schwartz serves as a Director on the Boards of Directors of the Toys“R”Us Children’s Fund and Toys“R”Us, Japan Ltd.
Michael J. Short
Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
Michael J. Short joined Toys“R”Us, Inc. in June 2014 as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. In this capacity, he provides leadership for financial planning and analysis, internal audit, financial reporting, tax, treasury and investor relations across the company’s worldwide business operations. Additionally, Mr. Short is responsible for the company’s information technology infrastructure. He also serves as a member of the company’s Global Executive Committee.
Mr. Short is a seasoned finance executive with broad retail and corporate development experience. Prior to joining Toys“R”Us, Inc., he was most recently Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of AutoNation for seven years. Before that, Mr. Short served as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Universal Orlando. Earlier in his career, he held a variety of finance positions at Universal Orlando, Joseph E. Seagram & Sons, Inc. and IBM Corporation. Mr. Short was also a helicopter pilot and tactics instructor for the United States Navy, based out of Norfolk, VA.
He is a graduate of the United States Naval Academy and received a Masters of Business Administration from Columbia University Business School. Mr. Short serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors of Give Kids the World, a charity that fulfills the wishes of children with life-threatening illnesses.
Executive Vice President, Global Store Operations
As Executive Vice President, Global Store Operations, Toys“R”Us, Inc., Joe Venezia is responsible for delivering an exceptional shopping experience for customers across the company’s more than 850 Toys“R”Us and Babies“R”Us stores nationwide, as well as for providing strategic direction and support for Global Store Operations. This includes leading global initiatives and facilitating best practices in the operations area. Mr. Venezia also serves as a member of the company’s Global Leadership Team.
Mr. Venezia joined Toys“R”Us, Inc. in February 2014 as Senior Vice President, Store Operations, where he played a key role in the company’s transformation process. He led efforts to drive the U.S. business forward and delivered consistent operational execution across all stores while improving customer satisfaction and developing a strong store operations team.
Prior to joining the company, Mr. Venezia was Senior Vice President of Store Operations for The Pantry, where he oversaw more than 1,700 convenience stores and quick-service restaurants across 13 states in the Southeastern U.S. Earlier in his career, he served as Senior Vice President of Walmart U.S. and President for the company’s Northeast division, as well as President and General Manager for Wells Fargo Merchant Services. He also spent eight years at Procter & Gamble in numerous brand management roles.
A military veteran, Mr. Venezia served as an Airborne Ranger Officer in the U.S. Army Infantry for nine years and was deployed abroad three times. He was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for demonstrated bravery during Operation Desert Storm in Iraq.
Mr. Venezia received a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York.
Amy von Walter
Executive Vice President, Global Communications and Public Relations
As Executive Vice President, Global Communications and Public Relations, Toys“R”Us, Inc., Amy von Walter is responsible for both external and internal communications for the company. This includes strategic efforts related to media relations, crisis management and brand reputation, as well as special events and team member engagement. She also leads philanthropic efforts, emphasizing the company’s commitment to keeping children safe and helping them in times of need.
Prior to joining the company, Ms. von Walter served as Vice President of Communications and Public Affairs, Best Buy, where she led the corporate communications, brand public relations and internal communications teams. Before that she held a variety of leadership positions in public relations, public affairs, corporate and internal communications for companies including Medtronic, HealthPartners, an integrated healthcare company, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Metropolitan Airports Commission. She has also worked for Target Corporation and CBS Radio.
Ms. von Walter received a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism and public relations from the University of Minnesota.
She currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors for ACES Minnesota, an organization dedicated to helping low-income students close the achievement gap; and Techbridge, a national nonprofit based in Oakland, Calif. focused on encouraging low-income, minority girls to explore the fields of science, technology, and engineering.