President & CEO
President & CEO
J.K. Symancyk became President and CEO of PetSmart, and a member of the company’s board of directors, in June 2018. As a veteran in the consumer retail industry with more than 25 years of experience managing complex retail operations, he is a transformational leader – both in improving organizational performance and in team culture by nurturing talent and developing leaders.
Starting his career as a seasonal associate in a Walmart distribution center, J.K. moved to the home office where he served in several leadership roles for both Sam’s Club and Walmart, including international roles supporting merchandising, procurement and sourcing.
In 2006, J.K. joined Meijer – a supercenter chain throughout the Midwest – as Group Vice President and held increasingly more responsible positions, including Chief Operating Officer, before being promoted to President in 2012. Leading the $17 billion retailer, J.K. continued to grow the business with 17 consecutive quarters of comp sales growth, increase in market share, margin and net profit.
In 2015, J.K. was named President & Chief Executive Officer of Academy Sports + Outdoors, one of the nation’s largest sporting goods and outdoor stores. With his focus on building a strong leadership team and new strategy including expanding its proprietary brands, the company successfully posted return on growth and was set up for an eventual IPO.
At PetSmart, J.K. continues to be a transformational leader, overseeing North America’s leading pet retailer resulting in increased market share, significant growth in revenue, margin dollars and cash flow generation, a healthier balance sheet and improved associate engagement. With J.K.’s leadership, PetSmart has also extended its commitment to Belonging, diversity and inclusion as well as its investment in training and benefits for all associates. He currently serves as Chairman of PetSmart Charities, which is the leading funder of animal welfare in communities across North America and is a member of the Retail Industry Leaders Board of Directors and the Bath & Body Works Board of Directors.
J.K. graduated with a bachelor’s degree from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, where he still serves on the Dean’s Advisory Board for the Walton College of Business. He and his wife have two children and are pet parents to two dogs: Stella, a Havanese, and Harper, a Great Pyrenees mix.