NEW Names Sarah Alter President/CEO

The board of directors of the Network of Executive Women, Retail, Consumer Goods and Services (NEW), the largest women’s leadership organization serving the North American retail and consumer goods industry, has named Chicago-area business executive Sarah Alter president and CEO, effective June 5. She will be based at NEW headquarters in downtown Chicago.

"When we started our search, we defined the CEO we needed to transform NEW and the industry we serve,” explained NEW Vice Chair Lisa Walsh, of Purchase, N.Y.-based PepsiCo, who headed the board’s CEO search committee. “Sarah fits the bill, and then some.”

Added Walsh: “NEW is at a pivot point. Sarah will guide us as we expand our services and become a more powerful voice for gender equality and workplace transformation in our industry. She has strategic vision, proven experience in the retail, services and technology markets, financial acumen and global experience. Most important, she is savvy about leading people and has a very inclusive and engaging style.”

“Given my passion for its mission, I cannot think of a more important job than growing NEW,” said Alter. “Working with our 10,000 members, 20 regions and more than 100 partner companies, we can help even more women and diverse leaders advance.”

Bringing wide experience in the retail and financial industries to her new role, Alter has been VP of Riverwoods, Ill.-based Discover Financial Services, where she led the product strategy for all credit card features, benefits and services, boosting revenue and earning the organization a J.D. Power award for its digital experience, and VP for digital sales and marketing at Palatine, Ill.-based, where she increased digital sales from 9 percent to 65 percent of revenue. In her most recent position, chief marketing officer at Chicago-based General Growth Properties, Alter developed and executed business and consumer marketing strategies for 200 shopping mall properties and their top retailers.

Additionally, Alter has served on a number of nonprofit boards and is an accomplished fundraiser. As an organizer of Chicago’s annual Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Gala, she has helped raise millions of dollars to find a cure for type 1 diabetes. Alter is also a mentor to high school students and participates in the Beyond Sports Foundation for gifted athletes.