Executive and Administrative Officers
Antonio Urcelay was appointed Interim Chief Executive Officer in May 2013. In this role, he is responsible for providing leadership and driving key initiatives throughout the global organization as the company engages in an ongoing CEO search. In addition to serving as Interim CEO, Mr. Urcelay continues to lead the company’s business in Europe, serving as President, Toys“R”Us, Europe.
Over the course of his 17-year tenure with Toys“R”Us, Mr. Urcelay has been given roles of increasing responsibility for the company’s European business, having held positions, including Managing Director, Iberia (Spain and Portugal); President, Southern Europe; and President, Continental Europe. He assumed his current role of President, Toys“R”Us, Europe in July 2010.
In this capacity, he oversees the business activities of more than 300 Toys“R”Us and Babies“R”Us stores across Europe. He is responsible for the continued growth and success of the company in eight European countries: the United Kingdom, Austria, France, Germany, Poland, Portugal, Spain and Switzerland. He leads a team of talented executives in asserting the company’s global status as THE toy and juvenile products authority through marketing, merchandising, e-commerce, store operations and customer service excellence. In 2011, Mr. Urcelay led the company’s market entry into Poland, providing a potential gateway for further growth in Europe.
Prior to joining Toys“R”Us in 1996, Mr. Urcelay spent the majority of his career working in retail and the consumer packaged goods industry. Most recently, he served as Managing Director, Leche Pascual S.A., a Spanish dairy company. Earlier, Mr. Urcelay spent 11 years as the head of the Spanish division for a British-owned supermarket chain, becoming a member of the Board of Directors of its parent company, the Ashley Group. Prior to that, Mr. Urcelay spent six years at the Dutch supermarket chain Royal Ahold, where he held various leadership positions, including Managing Director of the Spanish market. He also served as a marketing manager for the Spanish subsidiary of Procter & Gamble. In the earliest stage of his career, Mr. Urcelay spent five years practicing law at the international law firm Cremades, where he became a partner.
Mr. Urcelay earned his Juris Doctor from the Madrid-Complutense University. He currently serves as a member of the Toys“R”Us, Inc. Global Product Safety Policy Committee. In addition, he is a member of the Board of Directors of AECOC-GS1 Spain, an association of more than 25,000 companies in the consumer goods markets.
Executive Vice President, Chief Merchandising Officer
As Executive Vice President, Chief Merchandising Officer, Toys“R”Us, Inc., Richard Barry leads all merchandising initiatives for the company’s U.S. operations, including Toys“R”Us and Babies“R”Us stores nationwide and the legendary FAO Schwarz flagship store in New York City, as well as the company’s dedicated e-commerce sites. In this role, Mr. Barry oversees a team of merchants in identifying and monitoring worldwide product trends and innovations to advance the company’s position as THE toy and juvenile products authority.
Mr. Barry also plays a leadership role in driving collaboration, providing insights and leveraging industry-wide relationships to benefit the company’s merchant teams around the world in building differentiated product assortments. In addition, he works to ensure the company offers a consistently strong in-stock position on the hottest products and negotiates first-to-market opportunities on new item introductions.
During his nearly 27-year tenure at Toys“R”Us, which spans across the U.S. and the U.K., he has accumulated broad experience in all aspects of sales, operations and merchandising, through roles of increasing seniority. Mr. Barry joined Toys“R”Us, Inc. in 1985 as a part-time employee in the U.K., and in 2004, he was promoted to Merchandising Director for Toys“R”Us, International, where he managed buying decisions for categories including Video Games, Electronics, Learning and Sports.
The following year, Mr. Barry was appointed Vice President, Divisional Merchandising Manager for the Learning, Electronics and Entertainment businesses for the company’s U.S. toy stores. In 2010, he was named Vice President, General Merchandising Manager, Toys“R”Us, U.S., overseeing the Learning, Electronics and Entertainment product categories. In February 2012, Mr. Barry was promoted to Senior Vice President, Chief Merchandising Officer, Toys“R”Us, U.S. and was subsequently named to his current position in October of the same year.
Mr. Barry serves on the Board of the Entertainment Merchants Association. In addition, he was elected to the Board of Directors for the Toy Industry Association in February 2013.
Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
Clay Creasey joined Toys“R”Us, Inc. in May 2006 as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. Mr. Creasey is an integral part of the executive team working to leverage the company’s leadership position as the toy and baby authority in the U.S. and abroad.
Mr. Creasey joined Toys“R”Us, Inc. with 25 years of financial management experience in the retail industry. He began his retail career at Lucky Stores, a large, public grocery, where he spent 11 years in various corporate and division financial roles. More recently, he spent 13 years at Mervyn’s, a subsidiary of Target Corporation, where he served as their Chief Financial Officer for five years. He also spent one year as the financial head of Zoom Systems, a San Francisco-based start-up company in the automated retail sector. During his career, Mr. Creasey has been involved with several corporate and operational restructurings and financial turnarounds.
Before entering the retail sector, Mr. Creasey spent two years as an Actuarial Analyst at Fireman’s Fund and six years as a Corporate Lending Officer with Crocker Bank.
Mr. Creasey holds a bachelor’s degree and a Masters of Business Administration from Stanford University. He also is a Certified Public Accountant.
Vice Chairman and Executive Vice President
As Vice Chairman and Executive Vice President, Toys“R”Us, Inc., Deborah Derby is currently responsible for overseeing global Human Resources for 70,000 employees across the company’s corporate and regional offices and more than 1,600 stores worldwide. In this role, Ms. Derby provides leadership for all Human Resources functions, including staffing, employee relations, training, development, compensation and benefits execution.
Ms. Derby joined Toys“R”Us, Inc. in 2000, and thereafter held a number of Human Resources roles of increasing responsibility, culminating in being named Corporate Secretary and Executive Vice President, Human Resources, Legal and Corporate Communications for the global enterprise. She was promoted to President, Babies“R”Us in 2006, where she led all aspects of merchandising, marketing and store operations for the world’s leading dedicated juvenile products retailer.
In 2009, Ms. Derby was appointed Executive Vice President , Chief Administrative Officer, Toys“R”Us, Inc., with responsibility for Property Development and New Business Development, as well as overseeing the growth of the company’s retail store and online businesses in Canada. She held this role until February 2012, and after a brief hiatus consulting for Kenneth Cole Productions in New York City, she returned to Toys“R”Us, Inc. in her current position and as a member of the Executive Committee in March 2013.
Prior to joining the company, Ms. Derby spent eight years at Whirlpool Corporation in various Human Resources roles. She joined Whirlpool from the law firm Miller, Canfield, Paddock and Stone, where she was an attorney specializing in employment law. Earlier in her career, she worked as a Financial Analyst for Goldman Sachs in New York and spent one year working at the company’s London offices.
Ms. Derby received a bachelor’s degree from Harvard University and a Masters of Business Administration and a Juris Doctor from the University of Notre Dame. She is a member of the Michigan Bar Association. In addition, she currently serves on the Board of Directors for The Vitamin Shoppe.
Executive Vice President, “R”Us Brands
As Executive Vice President, “R”Us Brands, Toys“R”Us, Inc., Ira Hernowitz is responsible for driving the company’s ongoing strategy to offer differentiated toy and juvenile products that cannot be found anywhere else. In this role, Mr. Hernowitz works with inventors, product developers, branded manufacturers, alliance partners and internal constituencies to accelerate the penetration of owned-brands around the world.
Mr. Hernowitz also oversees the company’s product sourcing and quality assurance office in Shenzhen, China, which sources items from across the globe for the company’s growing private brand businesses. In this capacity, he leads efforts to ensure the company’s proprietary products meet industry and regulatory standards, as well as the strict standards mandated by Toys“R”Us, Inc., and that facilities used to manufacture these items meet the company’s strict code of ethical conduct.
With more than two decades of experience throughout the toy industry, Mr. Hernowitz joined Toys“R”Us, Inc. in August 2012 to provide leadership for the company’s Global Juvenile Brands. He was charged with identifying new proprietary juvenile items and product categories to be offered in “R”Us stores while growing the penetration and positioning of Babies“R”Us-branded products around the world, as well as advancing the company’s juvenile product authority position. Mr. Hernowitz was named to his current role and appointed to the company’s Executive Committee in February 2013.
Prior to joining the company, Mr. Hernowitz most recently served as President, Melissa & Doug, where he was responsible for business growth and strategic direction. He also spent 12 years at Hasbro, Inc. in roles of increasing responsibility from General Manager, Preschool, Creative Play and Girls to Senior Vice President, Marketing. Earlier in his career, Mr. Hernowitz served as Vice President, Marketing and Business Development at OddzOn, Inc. and Vice President, Sales and Marketing at Grand Toys, among other roles.
Mr. Hernowitz received a bachelor’s degree from the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University in New York.
Toys"R"Us, Asia Pacific
As President, Toys“R”Us, Asia Pacific, Monika Merz oversees all operations and business activities for the company’s growing number of stores in Japan, Southeast Asia, Greater China and Australia. In this role, she is responsible for the continued growth, profitability and success of the company in these markets. Ms. Merz leads a team of talented executives in asserting the company’s position as the world’s leading dedicated toy and juvenile products retailer.
Ms. Merz joined the company in 1996 as Vice President and General Manager, Toys“R”Us, Canada. She served in this role until 2000, when she was promoted to President, Toys“R”Us, Canada. In this capacity, she introduced the company’s first integrated Side-by-Side store format, which combines Toys“R”Us and Babies“R”Us stores under one roof. Today, these convenient, one-stop shopping destinations have opened in countries throughout the world.
In November 2007, Ms. Merz assumed leadership of Toys“R”Us, Japan, which was a publicly traded company on the Jasdaq until the late Spring of 2010. She is currently leading the successful integration and growth of the toy and juvenile products businesses in this country. With nearly 170 Toys“R”Us and Babies“R”Us stores, Japan represents the largest number of wholly owned stores in the company’s international portfolio. In 2011, Ms. Merz’s role was expanded to include responsibility for the company’s nearly 40 stores in Australia. And, later that year, Ms. Merz gained oversight of the company’s 90 locations and corporate offices in Southeast Asia and Greater China when the company entered a joint venture agreement with Li & Fung to operate these formerly licensed stores.
Ms. Merz has a strong background in the retail industry. Prior to joining Toys“R”Us, she held various roles in merchandising, store operations, supply chain and marketing with several companies, including Hudson’s Bay Company and Costco, as well as a specialty clothing chain and a catalog retailer.
Ms. Merz serves as a member of the Toys“R”Us, Inc. Global Product Safety Policy Committee, which is responsible for staying ahead of emerging product safety issues and responding to them with urgency. She was previously a member of the Board of the Starlight Children’s Foundation in Canada. Ms. Merz also served as the Vice Chair of the Retail Council of Canada and headed the Government Relations Committee for Retailers for the Retail Council of Canada. In addition, in 2011 Ms. Merz was honored with the 2011 Dale Carnegie International Leadership Award for outstanding leadership in human resources development. She was also named “Leader of the Year” for 2012 by the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan in recognition of her role as co-chair of Women in Leadership subcommittee, among other contributions.
Ms. Merz is a Canadian citizen and earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Guelph in the province of Ontario.
Executive Vice President, Stores and Services
As Executive Vice President, Stores and Services, Toys“R”Us, Inc., Troy Rice oversees the company’s U.S. store operations and customer service functions and leads a team in developing and driving unique service offerings available at Toys“R”Us and Babies“R”Us. In this capacity, Mr. Rice directs strategic business initiatives designed to enhance the store experience and increase traffic to “R”Us stores. This includes responsibility for growing the company’s omnichannel business to ensure a seamless in-store and online shopping experience for customers.
Mr. Rice joined Toys“R”Us, Inc. in October 2006 as Senior Vice President, Store Operations, Toys“R”Us, U.S. In this role, he was responsible for operations, security, management and maintenance functions for the company’s Toys“R”Us stores across the country. In 2009, his role expanded to include all Toys“R”Us and Babies“R”Us store operations nationwide. He was promoted to his current position and appointed to the company’s Executive Committee in May 2012.
Prior to joining the company, Mr. Rice spent more than 15 years at Home Depot, where he began his career in retail in 1990 as Associate Manager. During his time there, he held various Regional and Divisional Management roles, including Senior Vice President of Operations and Division President, Northern Division, where he was responsible for directing all aspects of operations.
Mr. Rice received his bachelor’s in business administration and finance from Kennesaw State University in Georgia. In 2003, the National Retail Federation named him one of the Top 40 Executives Under 40. Mr. Rice currently sits on the Board of Directors of the Geoffrey Fund, which provides monetary assistance to Toys“R”Us, Inc. employees in times of need.
David J. Schwartz
Executive Vice President, General Counsel, Corporate Secretary
As Executive Vice President, General Counsel, Toys“R”Us, Inc., David Schwartz is responsible for all legal and regulatory affairs within the company and serves as the Corporate Secretary to the boards of Toys“R”Us, Inc. and its subsidiaries. Mr. Schwartz oversees a team of attorneys who perform numerous legal functions in a variety of practice areas, including real estate, employment and labor, intellectual property, litigation, regulatory compliance and securities. He also manages the company’s international licensed store operations and leads its global Safety and Quality Assurance program as Chairman of the Global Product Safety Policy Committee.
Mr. Schwartz joined Toys“R”Us, Inc. in 2001 as Vice President, Corporate Counsel, and was promoted to Deputy General Counsel in 2002. In this role, he became responsible for managing the organization’s legal department. Mr. Schwartz was named Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary in 2003, and in 2008, was appointed to the Executive Committee. He subsequently assumed responsibility for the organization’s Safety and Quality Assurance program. Mr. Schwartz was promoted to Executive Vice President in 2009.
Prior to joining Toys“R”Us, Inc., Mr. Schwartz was a corporate partner at Anderson, Kill & Olick, P.C., where he specialized in mergers and acquisitions and the formation of private investment funds.
Mr. Schwartz holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Duke University, a Juris Doctor from the University of Pennsylvania School of Law and a Masters of Business Administration from Columbia University Business School. In 2012, Mr. Schwartz was named a “Top General Counsel” by ExecRank, the definitive ranking service of leading executives.
Mr. Schwartz serves as a Director on the Boards of Directors of the Toys“R”Us Children’s Fund and Toys“R”Us, Japan Ltd.