About Columbus Consulting International


Columbus Consulting comprises a team of highly experienced specialists in retail systems and processes.

Our Mission


Provide consulting services with superior results to a select group of clients.

Columbus Consulting was founded in 2001 with a vision of being a high quality consulting service provider in the retail sector.  Our vision was never to be the biggest practice, but rather to provide superior services in a unique manner.  Our mission statement reflects our vision of delivering outstanding results for our clients and ourselves.

Columbus has grown to become the largest retail niche consulting practice in the industry. Our practice continually evolves but our focus has remained consistent over the years.  We are Inventory Optimization experts.  Anything that manages the inventory throughout the business including people, process, and technology is within our core skillset.  While we are adept at virtually all aspects of retail operations, our core strengths lie in the following:


Our Board of Directors


Columbus Consulting’s Board of Directors represents over 130 years of retail, consulting and software expertise. This expertise guides the strategy and operational effectiveness of the firm. The Board is chaired by Richard von Hirschberg,  with Jon Beck, CEO Columbus Consulting, Rick Amari, Founder of Columbus Consulting, and Kate Gorman, Managing Partner as the elected Board members for 2016.

rick amariRick Amari is the founder of Columbus Consulting, which is currently recognized as the largest boutique consulting firm in North America that serves retail. Rick focuses on the Strategic IT practice, assisting retailers with IT Assessments and Strategy. The practice also includes Interim CIO services and working with Private Equity groups on Merger and Acquisition assessments and positioning.  Rick has 30+ years of experience in the retail industry, specifically in the Information Technology discipline.

Prior to starting Columbus, Rick held various positions over a 12-year career with L Brands (nee The Limited, Limited Brands) including CIO at Victoria’s Secret Stores and Group CIO with responsibility for cross-company Information Technology functions; including Express, Lane Bryant, Limited Too, and Lerner NY. Rick spent 9 years in both Information Systems and General Management leadership positions at Food City Stores in Virginia during the 80’s.



Jon Beck is CEO of Columbus Consulting. His expertise includes Merchandising and Planning Strategy, Organization, Processes & Systems. Jon is a retail specialist with over 20 years of experience working with retail, wholesale and manufacturing companies focused on improving corporate performance through better planning, execution and analysis. A highly motivated business consultant, system architect and integrator with broad global experience, Jon has successfully designed and implemented planning and allocation solutions for nearly 100 clients, spanning apparel, footwear and hardlines.

Prior to joining Columbus Consulting, Jon had his own consulting firm as well as being employed at JDA and Predictix.  Through these experiences, Jon was involved in the design, development and implementation of many of today’s industry-leading planning and allocation software solutions, making him one of the most renowned experts in the industry.



bio_vonh_richardRichard von Hirschberg is a Merchandising Process and Systems specialist with more than 30 years of experience in design, development and implementation of various market-leading merchandising solutions. He has provided strategic advice to numerous US and International retailers. He drives optimal design and implementation of merchandising processes and systems with deep domain in the functional areas of Merchandise Planning, Assortment Planning, and Allocation.

Prior to joining Columbus, Richard headed up the original development teams of two of the world’s leading Merchandise Planning systems: Arthur and i2 Merchandise Planner. He has had management and executive responsibility for marketing and product strategy with four US software companies involved in the development of supply chain and merchandising systems: IBM, ProfitLogic, AllPoints Systems, and EXE Technologies.



Kate Gorman is a Partner and VP Sales, Marketing with Columbus Consulting.  Kate is a senior level executive with over 25 years of experience in the retail industry.  She has extensive leadership and practical experience in retail management, retail consulting and retail software development.  She is a proven executive delivering bottom line growth through hands on management of core disciplines including  sales operations, marketing, buying, inventory control, business intelligence, logistics and business process development.

Kate’s direct experience in retail, consulting and software strategy give her unique insights and expertise in delivering solutions that add value and improved results.

Prior to joining Columbus, Kate was most recently Executive General Manager for JR/Duty Free in Australia/New Zealand.  In this role she was responsible for the growth of the organization from a start up to the leading Duty Free retailer in the region and was directly accountable for the EBIT results.  In the decade before joining JR/Duty Free, Kate held leadership positions at ThinkFast Consulting, Retek and JDA, specializing in product strategy and solution development in merchandise planning, assortment planning, allocation, replenishment and business intelligence.