- Brian Donato will become Chief Supply Chain Officer at clothing rental company Rent the Runway on March 16, according to a press release.
- Donato comes to Rent the Runway from New York-based indoor farming startup Bowery Farming. Before that, he worked at Amazon for seven years in operational roles related to returns and fulfillment and Amazon's Pantry and Fresh programs.
- At Rent the Runway, Donato will focus on reverse logistics, warehousing, inventory, transportation and distribution.
The supply chain is at the heart of a company such as Rent the Runway that relies on timely delivery, accurate inventory management and efficient reverse logistics to run successfully as a clothing rental service.
Operations can make or break the business. And in the case of Rent the Runway, an operational failure more or less did break the business last year.
A software glitch delayed 5% of shipments for customers and forced the retailer to hit pause on orders scheduled to arrive between Sept. 30 and Oct. 6, 2019. At the time, the retailer said it had lost confidence in its ability to fulfill orders. The company's Chief Supply Officer Marv Cunningham stepped down at the end of September, though a reason wasn't disclosed.
Bringing on board a veteran in operations will help the startup fine-tune its supply chain. "Brian’s leadership and experience in operations and logistics will be a valuable asset to the company," Jennifer Hyman, Rent the Runway’s co-founder and CEO, said in a statement announcing Donato's appointment as CSCO. She described operational transformation as one of the company's top priorities. "Our whole business is logistics," she told Retail Dive in 2018.
The challenge for Rent the Runway is to keep operations running as it scales, Donato told The Wall Street Journal. "With size, everything has the potential to break," he said.
Donato has experience managing operations as a business scales. During his time at Amazon Fresh, the business expanded from four cities to 12, and volume grew more than five-fold in less than a year.