Columbus Consulting’s Board of Directors represents over 180 years of retail, consulting and software expertise. This expertise guides the strategy and operational effectiveness of the firm. The Board is chaired by Kate Gorman, with Jon Beck, CEO Columbus Consulting, Elizabeth Elliott, Jeff Gragg, Alain Krakirian, and Rich Pedott as the elected Board members. Rick Amari serves as Board Advisor.
Board Chairman and Managing Partner
Kate Gorman is a Managing Partner and Board Chair 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
Jon Beck is the CEO of Columbus Consulting. Jon is a retail specialist with over 25 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 with broad global experience. Jon has successfully designed and implemented solutions for nearly 100 clients, spanning apparel, footwear and hard lines.
Prior to joining Columbus Consulting, Jon had his own consulting firm as well as being employed at Comshare, Planalytics 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.
Elizabeth Elliott is a Managing Partner at Columbus Consulting and an accomplished retail executive with a proven track record of successfully leading and implementing large complex initiatives, while diving in deep and driving business process, change management, and ensuring people, process, culture and technology are aligned to deliver sustained results. Respected for leadership and change management skills, and ability to develop highly effective project teams capable of executing integrated process and systems initiatives. Strong ability to influence and build collaborative relationships across all functions of an organization, driving buy-in and ownership of strategic initiatives while managing day-to-day operations. Elizabeth’s expertise includes Omni planning, supply chain functions, marketing operations, merchandising, allocation and inventory management.
Jeff Gragg is a Managing Partner at Columbus Consulting. He has fulfilled roles as senior (CIO) IT executive who has also managed E-Commerce businesses and Inventory Planning & Fulfillment organizations. He maintains a significant record of achievement delivering large business process change and systems initiatives across organizations. Jeff has many years of experience in the Retail, Wholesale, Manufacturing and Consumer Products industries. He is a change agent and decisive leader who has implemented a long list of new approaches & systems in the following areas: Merchandise Planning, Assortment planning, Forecasting, Replenishment, Distribution, Manufacturing, Logistics, Marketing, Finance & Accounting & Transportation. In addition, Jeff is well versed as a leader of E-Commerce and has experience with the latest internet concepts and tools (Cloud Computing, SaaS, Mobile apps & devices, etc).
Alain Krakirian is a Partner with Columbus Consulting. He has extensive executive-level experience in retail and e-commerce, specializing in Merchandising and Planning/Allocation.
Alain has deep strategic and tactical experience leading the Planning, Forecasting, Allocation and Replenishment functions at several leading omni-channel retailers. He has an in-depth knowledge of the apparel specialty segment – wholesale, retail and e-commerce – including fast-fashion.
Alain has led several transformational projects involving business process, organizational design / roles & responsibilities, and systems design and implementation.
Richard Pedott is a Partner with Columbus Consulting. Rich has over 34 years of experience across multiple functional disciplines including: Planning and Allocation, Sourcing, Supply Chain Management, and Store Operations. He has led strategy, process, and systems development initiatives at several leading US and International Retailers and has a track record of successful implementations that deliver bottom-line results. He is the co-author of “Omni-Channel Retailing: How to Build a Practical, Effective Plan of Action”. His areas of expertise include Omni-Channel, Assortment Planning, Merchandise Planning, Product Lifecycle Management, Allocation, and Supply Chain. He was most recently the Chief Executive of the Retail, Direct-to-Consumer, and Wholesale operation for The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Founder and Board Advisor
Rick Amari is the founder of Columbus Consulting. Rick retired in 2020 but continues to assist the board and our Strategic IT practice. Rick experienced many roles and opportunities in his near 40 year career in retail.
Prior to founding Columbus, Rick held various positions over a 12-year career with L Brands (formerly The Limited/Limited Brands) including CIO at Victoria’s Secret Stores and Group CIO with responsibility for the Information Technology functions at Express, Lane Bryant, Limited Stores, 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. Rick began his career with the Management Consulting Division of Arthur Andersen, which has become Accenture.