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Bed Bath & Beyond/Overstock CEO Jonathan Johnson at Chief Housewares Executive SuperSession (CHESS)

Bed Bath & Beyond/Overstock CEO Jonathan Johnson will meet with a conference of housewares executives for the first time since relaunching the homegoods retailer in August when he appears during the keynote session at the International Housewares Association’s 2023 Chief Housewares Executive SuperSession (CHESS) Oct. 3 & 4 in Rosemont, Ill.

Overstock acquired the Bed Bath & Beyond brand after BBB filed for bankruptcy earlier this year and rebranded under the Bed Bath & Beyond name in August. In this special “fireside chat” presentation, Johnson will outline the relaunch of Bed Bath & Beyond and his plans for expansion in home and housewares. Attendees will be able to direct questions to Johnson about the new Bed Bath & Beyond and the company’s expanding home-centric transformation. HomePage News Editor-in-Chief and CHESS facilitator Peter Giannetti will moderate the discussion with Johnson.

CHESS is IHA’s strategic and networking event for industry leaders. It is designed for chief officers of all IHA member companies and their top decision-makers and features sessions on critical issues affecting housewares. This year’s theme, “Transforming the Home + Housewares Business” will showcase strategic perspectives across several critical topics and issues that underscore the new ground rules for success in today’s changed marketplace. Sessions will present actionable insights to encourage the next wave of change for the home and housewares business, demonstrating how truly successful transformation never stops; it is a fluid process that rewards constant evaluation and adaptation.

CHESS 2023 kicks off with the annual Housewares Hot Seat featuring key industry leaders. This year’s panel will examine how companies are identifying and executing brand and product diversification opportunities to optimize market reach, value to customers and growth prospects. Giannetti of HomePage News will moderate. Panelists include: Sal Gabbay, CEO, Gibson Homewares; Evan Dash, founder & CEO, Storebound; and Bill McHenry, founder & CEO, Widgeteer.

Other CHESS sessions include:

  • IHA Government Affairs Update with Craig Brightup, CEO, The Brightup Group and Rafe Morrissey, president, Morrissey Strategic Partners.
  • Solving the Regulatory Compliance Puzzle—A panel discussion examining surging regulatory compliance topics impacting the housewares business, including PFAS chemicals, California Prop 65 and Americans with Disability Act (ADA). Moderator: Craig Brightup, The Brightup Group. Panelists: Fran Groesbeck, managing director, Cookware & Bakeware Alliance; Thomas Lee, partner, Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP
  • Retail Repositioning to Identify Growth Opportunities— Circana executives Don Unser, president, Thought Leadership, and Joe Derochowski, vice president and home industry advisor, will provide a complete view of the consumer by looking at the $4 trillion-plus in global consumer spending to help identify indicators of where consumers and retailers are heading and to pinpoint growth opportunities for home and housewares.
  • Taking Control of Consumer Reviews—Laura Kegley, chief revenue officer, North America, Revuze, and David Rapps, president, Wholescale, will examine how to make consumer reviews a more influential component of housewares marketing strategies.
  • Critical Perspective of ESG: Benefits and Burdens of an Evolving Standard. ESG, an acronym for Environmental, Social and Governance, is a three-pillar framework for measuring the sustainability and ethical impact of a company’s operations. Tom Mirabile, founder of Springboard Futures and IHA’s consumer trend analyst, will lay out the viewpoints from all sides of the topic while illuminating consumer perspectives on key issues crucial to determining a supplier’s position and strategic initiatives on this growing concern.
  • Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) Trade Agreement Update with Rafe Morrissey, Morrissey Strategic Partners.
  • Mastering Disruption: Funding Strategies for a Post-Pandemic World—Because housewares is an industry that relies on stable sources of working capital to fund its operations and growth, it is important to understand the significant shifts that have occurred in the lending markets since 2020 that, in the wake of the Silicon Valley and Signature Bank collapses, are continuing to evolve today. A panel of secured finance experts will unpack these events, providing data and insights to help suppliers understand what this means to their business today and going forward. Moderator: Richard Gumbrecht, CEO, Secured Finance Network (SFNet). Panelists: Jenn Palmer, CEO, JPalmer Collective, and Brian Martin, regional manager, CIT Commercial Services.
  • Grading the Housewares Retail Credit Climate— Gauging retailer credit risk is a mounting challenge in the post-pandemic housewares marketplace, which has seen some high-profile retail bankruptcies while some others confront ongoing financial uncertainty. Scott Friedman, chief credit officer of Pulse Ratings, will provide an overview of the retail business and its debt risk before taking a deep dive into credit factors affecting some key retailers.
  • Artificial Intelligence/Chat GPT: The Opportunity Is Real & Now—Artificial intelligence (AI) and chatbots powered by generative pre-trained transformers (GPT) are transforming the way businesses communicate and interact with their customers. In this executive leadership Q&A moderated by Aaron Conant, co-founder and chief digital strategist at BWG Connect, Jordan Brannon, president and COO of Coalition Technologies, will share his insights and expertise on how to leverage AI and chatbots for business success while avoiding the pitfalls and perils of these emerging tools.

CHESS is sponsored by Houlihan Lokey, Oracle Netsuite, CIT Commercial Services, Secured Finance Network, Krunchbox, AdAdvance and Monk Tree Partners. It will be held at the Hilton Rosemont/Chicago O’Hare. Again this year, CHESS will run concurrently with the International Business Council’s Global Forum, an annual meeting for a special interest group of IHA members dedicated to global marketing and sales. Attendees of both programs will be able to network during breaks and dinner, enhancing their interaction with colleagues.

To register for CHESS 2023 or for more information on the program, go to

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