The Home Depot reorganizes comms as Stephen Holmes retires

The retailer is splitting duties by internal and external lines.

Holmes has worked at The Home Depot since 2007.

ATLANTA: The Home Depot is reorganizing its communications team as comms head Stephen Holmes gets ready to retire on March 31.

Holmes, Home Depot’s VP of corporate comms and external affairs, is staying on to help with the transition. Holmes has led all internal and external communications, digital communications and content, events, branded merchandise and The Home Depot Foundation, where he served as president, during his 16-year stint at the retailer. 

The company is splitting his duties between Heather Kennedy and Crystal Hanlon.

“What a career, but I’m not tapping out just yet,” Holmes said, adding he is honored to have led the retailer’s comms team. “I have some pretty exciting options in mind to continue with my passion for communications, so you won’t find me searching for seashells by the seashore anytime soon.”

Kennedy (pictured below), a veteran of more than 20 years at Home Depot, will lead external messaging as VP of government relations and external communications. She is reporting to Teresa Wynn Roseborough, EVP, general counsel and corporate secretary.

Sara Gorman will report to Kennedy as senior director of corporate communications, overseeing external comms and media relations. 

“[Holmes] has been a fantastic leader for our brand the past 16 years, and I’m excited to work with [Gorman] and her powerhouse team to continue that success,” Kennedy said.

Internal communications, The Home Depot Foundation, digital communications and content, branded merchandise and events will move to the human resources function under Hanlon, SVP and culture officer. Hanlon reports to Tim Hourigan, EVP of HR.

The last person to hold the SVP and culture officer title was Giles Bowman, who is set to retire at the end of this month after 26 years at the company.

Hanlon (pictured below) has worked at The Home Depot for 37 years, most recently as president of the company’s northern division. Michael Maney, previously head of internal communications and associate engagement at Whole Foods, joined The Home Depot in December in the newly created role of senior director of internal communications. He reports to Hanlon. 

Asked why the company decided to split the responsibilities, Holmes said, “We think our internal communications initiatives and the other pieces align extremely well with [Hanlon’s] responsibilities for culture and associate engagement.”

Holmes has worked at The Home Depot since 2007 and was promoted to his current position in 2019. Before that, Stacey Tank led comms at the company. She is now Heineken’s chief corporate affairs and transformation officer.

Earlier in his career, Holmes worked as a PR manager for UPS for nearly nine years.

In Q3, The Home Depot’s revenue increased 6% to nearly $38.9 billion. CEO Ted Decker told investors in November that demand for its products will remain high as consumers  continue with renovations and do-it-yourself home improvements as they stay home more than usual.

The Home Depot’s PR agency partners are MSL and Edelman. 

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