Peloton, Hearst and REI land new chief people officers

Three industry titans named new chief people officers in March, including one that marked a milestone with a newly created CPO position and another that gave its new HR leader direct access to the CEO.

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Former Twitter HR leader heads to Peloton

Fitness platform Peloton appointed Dalana Brand as its CPO, who will lead the company’s global people team and report directly to the organization’s CEO, Barry McCarthy.

Dalana Brand, Peloton's new chief people officer
Dalana Brand

Prior to joining Peloton, Brand served as chief people and diversity officer at Twitter, where she rose up the ranks from vice president of total rewards when she joined the social media company in 2018. 

“Talent density has been a top priority for me at Peloton. Dalana’s addition is the culmination of that strategy, rounding out and completing the leadership team,” McCarthy says in a statement. “As we continue Peloton’s transformation and pivot to growth, her vision and leadership will be critical to our success.”

As Peloton CPO, Brand will serve on the company’s leadership team and also lead its global people team. 

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“I’ve made a career out of fostering inclusive employee experiences and leading with transparency and accountability,” says Brand in a statement. While at Twitter, she accelerated the progress and growth to make an inclusive environment for the workforce. 

Brand left Twitter in November, as other top HR executives moved on amid widespread company layoffs and return-to-office policy changes following Elon Musk’s acquisition of the company. 

In addition to Twitter, Brand also worked at Electronic Arts, where she served as vice president of total rewards, and held various senior leadership roles in HR at Whirlpool.

See also: With ‘She is PepsiCo,’ the beverage giant gives new meaning to ‘mobile recruiting’

Hearst’s milestone mark with first CPO

Rachel Kay, Hearst senior VP and chief people officer
Rachel Kay

Media giant Hearst named Rachel Kay as its senior vice president and chief people officer.

“Rachel’s skill set as an executive who is adept at recognizing the hiring and workplace needs for a growing corporation like ours makes her the perfect choice as Hearst’s first CPO,” says Mark Aldam, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Hearst, who recruited Kay to the company, in a statement.

The CPO role is a promotion for Kay, who previously served as vice president of talent at Hearst for the past four years. That position entailed her developing strategic initiatives for recruiting during the height of the pandemic, as well as leading diversity and inclusion, compensation and talent planning across all of Hearst’s businesses.

Related: The state of the CHRO: How to capitalize on the post-COVID HR momentum

In her new position as Hearst’s top HR executive, Kay will lead companywide HR strategy, human capital management and HR programs.

“Leading Hearst human resources is an exciting role at this time of growth and change across our diverse businesses, and I look forward to building upon the many distinctive strengths of our company in promoting it as a top workplace,” says Kay in a statement.

Before joining Hearst, Kay worked at management consulting firm McKinsey & Co. for 15 years as a consultant and then later in management roles there. She also holds a law degree from Columbia Law School. Kay also has taken advantage of upskilling while working at Hearst, graduating from its executive development program Hearst Management Institute.

REI finds an Apple when searching outside

Rather than make an inside hire for its chief people officer position, outdoor goods retailer REI Co-op preferred an outside hire and named Apple Musni to the post.

Apple Musni, REI's new chief people officer
Apple Musni

The former vice president of field people experience and recruiting at Chipotle Mexican Grill will now oversee REI’s people-first strategy, as well as its benefits and compensation teams and design talent strategies, and work to enhance its racial equity commitments.

“Apple brings a breadth of experience in retail and customer service and a strong point of view about how a progressive company with a strong ethos infuses its values through its people strategy,” says Eric Artz, president and CEO at REI, in a statement.

While at Chipotle, Musni oversaw people strategy and initiatives, such as staffing, engagement, retention and developing the restaurant chain’s field employees. Musni also previously led operational and HR functions at McDonald’s and Target. 

In addressing her new role, Musni, in a statement, says, “I have admired REI over the years as it continues to receive accolades for ‘best places to work,’ lead with its values through statements and action, and launch offerings that focus on what matters to its people the most.”

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Dawn Kawamoto, Human Resource Executive
Dawn Kawamoto
Dawn Kawamoto is HR Editor of Human Resource Executive. She is an award-winning journalist who has covered technology business news for such publications as CNET and has covered the HR and careers industry for such organizations as Dice and Built In prior to joining HRE. She can be reached at [email protected] and below on social media.