John Costello

Akron, ’71

Former CMO of Home Depot – Brother Costello left a lasting impression on how Home Depot does business.



John Costello may no longer be working at Home Depot, but he certainly left a lasting impression on the way the company does business and is perceived in the home improvement industry.

Making Home Depot stand out as the home improvement industry’s top retail brand was John Costello’s focus, maybe even obsession.” As EVP of merchandising and marketing, Costello takes this task to heart, supported by a long and solid career in retailing and marketing that already has yielded results at Depot.

Joining the company in November 2002 as CMO, Costello took on the added responsibility of merchandising in August of 2004. He came to Home Depot after serving as CMO at Yahoo! and had more than 25 years of experience in consumer goods, retailing and technology industries.

As a senior VP at Sears from 1993 to 1998, Costello helped develop the “Softer Side of Sears” advertising campaign. Other companies at which he held top-level positions include Procter & Gamble, Pepsi-Cola, AutoNation, Nielsen Marketing Research and MVP.com.

With rival Lowe’s often credited for its sales gains and innovative merchandising targeting women, Home Depot had been on the defensive in those recent years. But the gloves were off, and Depot was once again gaining respect for trend-setting merchandising that delivered strong gains in both sales and earnings.

“Innovative” and “distinctive” may be common buzzwords used in merchandising, but at Home Depot, those ideals were truly a priority under Costello. While national brands made up 80% of Depot’s mix, exclusive brands such as John Deere, Lithonia Lighting and Ralph Lauren paint and proprietary brands including Ridgid, Ryobi and Hampton Bay continued to grow in importance, serving to differentiate Home Depot from its rivals.

While growing its brand portfolio, Home Depot continued to update its stores, expanding both appliance and decor-related departments.

In a break from its traditional no-frills warehouse-merchandising approach, Home Depot began using a variety of fixtures and incorporating more point-of-purchase information, such as its Color Solutions paint program.

“Our goal is to improve the overall shopping experience for all of our customer segments and to drive home the message that Home Depot can deliver on his or her vision for the home,” Costello said.

Costello left Home Depot in August 2005. Since his departure, he entered in to a longtime consulting agreement with the company and continues to have an active role in shaping Home Depot’s future.

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