Velocity Conference Announces First Three Speakers From Ahold Delhaize USA, Metro & Navy Exchange

We are excited to announce the first three speakers for this year’s groundbreaking Velocity: The My Private Brand Conference each of which exemplifies the theme of this year’s event “The Revolution Begins with You!” This is inspired by the transformational changes happening in retail and private brand. It calls the industry not merely to take ownership but to drive change.

Early Bird tickets are available until June 19th.

Velocity: The My Private Brand Conference runs September 17-19, 2018. The event will be held in Uptown Charlotte, NC at the beautiful Kimpton Tryon Park Hotel.


Juan De Paoli

Senior Vice President for Private Brands
Ahold Delhaize USA

Juan De Paoli was appointed Senior Vice President for Private Brands at Ahold Delhaize USA at the beginning of this year. De Paoli led the design, creation and execution of the new Retail Business Services Private Brands organization, the consolidation of the legacy Ahold USA and Delhaize America Private Brands portfolio and currently leads the day-to-day operational aspects of this organization. Prior to that De Paoli served as the SVP for Own Brands at Ahold USA since July of 2013.

Juan’s professional experience includes a leadership role with Topco where he held the role of Vice President of Program Management. Before that Juan spent over 12 years at H-E-B in San Antonio Texas, where he started as an Own Brands Manager in Fresh and concluded, what he refers to as “this amazing phase of his career”, in the role of Director Own Brands responsible for all aspects of the department.

Juan’s experience includes over 25 years of brand management and brand building experience at Retail and CPG companies such as Ahold-Delhaize USA, Ahold USA, H-E-B, and Procter & Gamble. Juan’s career also includes international experience in Venezuela, Mexico and the USA where he has spent more than half his life.

Juan has been a Brand Management guest Professor at MBA program of the University of Texas (Austin, Texas), McCombs School of Business as well as Texas A&M. Juan’s academia experience also includes five years as Marketing professor at Universidad Metropolitana School of Business (Caracas, Venezuela), where he received the “Top Professor Award”, four consecutive years.

Juan holds two majors (Marketing Management and Finance). Born in Venezuela, from an Italian immigrant family, Juan is a truly multi-cultural individual and fluently speaks English, Spanish and Italian. Juan’s biggest life achievement of becoming a US citizen became a reality on 9/11/2013 in the city of San Antonio, Texas.


Marie-France Gibson

Vice President Private Brands

Ms. Gibson joined Metro in April 2010 and is currently Vice-President, Private Brands. Having received several awards, including Store Brands Magazine’s Executive of the Year in 2015 and Innovator of the Year in 2014, Ms. Gibson has been instrumental in developing both the reputation and recognition of Metro’s private labels. She is a senior executive experienced in different areas of marketing, including strategic planning, brand management, retail, launching new concepts, marketing and purchasing. In recent years, Ms. Gibson has acquired a strong knowledge of consumer trends and habits in Quebec and Canada. She has evolved in major companies such as Loblaw Companies and The Bay. She helped launch the Warehouse Club concept in Canada, which now operates under the Costco banner.


Richard Honibal

Senior Vice President, Chief Merchandising & Marketing Officer
Navy Exchange

The Navy Exchange Service Command (NEXCOM) Enterprise is a retailer comprised of 100 Navy Exchanges and over 300 stores worldwide, 39 Navy Lodges, 133 ships stores, the Uniform Program Management Office, the Navy Clothing and Textile Research Facility and the Telecommunications Program Office. The global operation boasts nearly 14,000 associates, over 30% of whom are military affiliated being either family members or veterans.

In 2016 total annual sales were $2.4 billion and the retailer invested $113.5 million in NEX stores to improve the shopping experience and to remain competitive within the retail market.

Rich has a long history of engaging with today’s consumer, developing and executing long-term strategic growth plans, creating impactful marketing, developing new products & brands, leading cultural change, and building world-class teams. He currently serves as the SVP, Chief Merchandising & Marketing Officer for the Navy Exchange, a $2B global retailer. With stores ranging from a 180 square foot micro-market to a 180,000 square foot flagship store, the Navy Exchange serves our active duty military, retirees, and their families worldwide, offering everything from apparel to accessories, consumer electronics to home goods, personal care to toys, and everything in between. In his role, Rich leads the buying, planning, marketing and e-commerce teams, and serves on the NEXCOM executive team as well as several strategic boards and committees, playing a vital role in the cultural and digital transformation of the organization.

Rich was the founder of PDB Advisory Group & the Brand Co-Lab, where he served in an advisory role with brands to develop their strategic marketing efforts, “purpose-driven” branding, consumer insights & engagement, and organizational excellence. Prior to PDB, he served as the SVP of Marketing, Licensing & E-Commerce for Haggar Clothing Co, responsible for branding, & advertising both B2B & direct to consumers, consumer insights & awareness, licensing partnerships, and spearheading the growth of its online business. Rich led a major corporate brand “re-fresh” with the goal of strengthening its relationship with current customers while attracting new ones to the brand, launching the innovative “Slacks are Back” campaign utilizing traditional, digital, social and experiential media. The result was a significant and measured improvement in Brand Awareness and Favorability among all generations, an effort that earned him a nomination in 2013 for “CMO of the Year” by the DFW AMA.

Before Haggar, Rich was the VP, Men’s & Kid’s Private Brands at JC Penney, responsible for leading the design, product development & trend teams that drove JCP’s private label brands with an annual sales volume of over $2.7 billion. Under his tenure, he and his team drove private brand penetration in his areas from 37% to 52% while enhancing brand projection, improving product quality and increasing overall margins. Rich has also held positions of increasing responsibility at Brooks Brothers and Jos. A. Bank in merchandising, brand development & marketing, product development & sourcing, and new business development.

Rich earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing with a Minor in Communications from Southern New Hampshire University, graduating with honors and is a current candidate for an MBA through the Mason School of Business at William & Mary. He has served on the boards of the Digital Retailing School at the University of North Texas and the Fashion Merchandising School at TCU. He was a national board of trustee member for HOBY, a youth leadership organization, honoring his passions for youth leadership and mentoring. Richard was honored with a 2016 CMO Innovation Award and is a frequent content contributor for the organization. Richard also contributed a chapter titled “DRIVING INNOVATION WHILE GROWING YOUR BRAND” for the Inside The Minds: Leading Marketing Executives series by Aspatore/Thomson Reuters.


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Christopher Durham
Christopher Durham is the president of My Private Brand and the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, consultant and retailer who built brands at Delhaize-owned Food Lion, and lead strategy and brand development for Lowe’s Home Improvement. He has consulted with retailers around the world on their private brand portfolios including: Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro (Canada), TLW (Taiwan) and Hola (Taiwan). Durham has published five definitive books on private brands, including his first book, Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. In 2017, he will debut his newest book, Vanguard: Vintage Originals, a visual tour of innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s. Dynamic in his presentation while down to earth and frank in his opinions, he has presented at numerous conferences, including FUSE, The Dieline Conference, Packaging that Sells, Omnishopper and PLMA’a annual trade show in Chicago. Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Laraine, and two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.