Our Company


Lisa Gavales
Interim Chief Executive Officer

Lisa became Interim CEO of Bluestem Brands in February 2018 after having served as Interim President of the Northstar portfolio since October 2017 and having been a board member since April 2017. Before Bluestem, Lisa was Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President of Things Remembered, North America’s leading retailer of personalized merchandise. Prior to that, she served as President and Chief Marketing Officer of Talbots. Before Lisa joined Talbots in 2013, she was Executive Vice President, Chief Marketing Officer and Chief Digital Officer at EXPRESS and also started express.com. From 1994-2007, Lisa held a variety of positions at Bloomingdale’s including General Merchandise Manager of Home and Senior Vice President of Marketing. She also launched bloomingdales.com. Lisa has an MBA and BS from the University of Bridgeport.

Neil Ayotte
Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary

Neil joined Bluestem Brands in February 2018 from Medtronic, the world’s largest medical device company, where he most recently served as Vice President and Chief Legal Counsel for the Americas. Neil joined Medtronic in 2002 and held positions of increased management responsibilities, including serving a year as Interim General Counsel. Prior to Medtronic, Neil was Executive Vice President and General Counsel of a venture capital backed web services provider that merged with Web.com in 2002. Previously, Neil was a partner in the corporate and securities law practice group of Maslon, LLP. Neil received his law degree from the University of Minnesota, holds a Master’s Degree in English Literature from the University of Wisconsin, and earned his BA from St. Mary’s University of Minnesota.

Craig Dillon
Executive Vice President & Chief Technology Officer

Craig joined Bluestem Brands in May 2015. For four years prior to Bluestem, Craig led engineering and operations for the World Payments division of Digital River, supporting a global ecommerce acceptance network handling $35 billion a year. Prior to that, Craig lead product management, engineering and analytics teams supporting financial services decision support technologies at Fair Isaac and HNC Software. Craig is a strong advocate for Agile methodologies, and has led the introduction of Agile across engineering and business intelligence at a number of companies. Craig has a PhD in Computer Science from Curtin University, and a double major in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering from the University of Melbourne.

Pete Michielutti
Executive Vice President & Chief Financial Officer

Pete joined Bluestem Brands in July 2017. Prior to Bluestem, Pete was the Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer at Christopher & Banks. Before he joined Christopher & Banks in 2012, Pete served as the Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at Whitehall Jewelers. From 2001 to 2006, Pete was the Chief Financial Officer at Wilsons Leather; from 1998 to 2001, he was the Head of Information Services at U.S. Bancorp. Pete served as Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer at Fingerhut Companies for three years in the 1990s, after having spent over 16 years at Household International. Pete graduated from DePaul University with a BS in Accounting.

Jackie Punch
Senior Vice President & Chief Human Resources Officer

Jackie joined Bluestem Brands in November 2017. Before Bluestem, Jackie was Vice President of Home Office Human Resources and Talent Acquisition for J.C. Penney in Plano, TX. Jackie has held several human resources executive positions including Chief Human Resources Officer at Archway Marketing, Senior Vice President of Human Resources at G&K Services, Senior Vice President of Human Resources at Marshall Field’s/Macy’s, as well as positions of increasing responsibility over 18 years with Marshall Field’s, a former division of Target Corporation. She also was President of Punch HR Consulting, LLC. Jackie graduated from the University of St. Thomas (Minnesota) with a BA in Public Relations/Journalism.

Jim Slavik
Executive Vice President & President of Credit Services

Jim joined Bluestem Brands in August 2016. For six years prior to Bluestem, Jim was Chief Executive of Credit and Insurance for Edcon Ltd., southern Africa’s largest non-food retail group, which is owned by Bain Capital in Johannesburg, South Africa. Edcon managed 3.5 million in-store cards, accounting for nearly 50% of group retail sales. For nearly 20 years prior to Edcon, Jim held executive leadership roles for GE Capital in banking and insurance, as well as consumer-finance businesses in general management, operations, and financial roles in the USA, Europe, and Asia. Jim graduated from Pennsylvania State University with a BS in Finance.

Andy Spicher
Senior Vice President, Strategy and Enterprise Services

Andy joined Bluestem in June 2008 as Vice President of Credit. During his time at Bluestem, he has held a variety of leadership roles in Credit and Marketing and was most recently Vice President of Investor Relations and Corporate Development. Andy has spent the majority of his career in financial services, including a year as Vice President of Finance for the Marshall Group, as well as eight years with Metris Companies and HSBC North America in various finance leadership positions. Andy received his MBA in Strategic Management and Finance from the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota, and his BA in Finance at the University of Iowa.

Mark Williams
President, Northstar Portfolio

Mark joined Bluestem in August 2018. Prior to Bluestem, Mark was President Financial Services, SVP, Loyalty and Capability Marketing at Best Buy. During his 10 years at Best Buy, Mark led the expansion of the My Best Buy credit card program, which played a pivotal role in Best Buy’s turnaround. He also held responsibilities in the My Best Buy loyalty program, Geek Squad Marketing and Marketing Operations. Before Best Buy, Mark worked for General Electric’s GE Money division, where his roles included General Manager of HBC Credit Services, and VP of Marketing Strategy and Business Development. Originally from England, Mark came to the United States to build a consulting business for MasterCard Worldwide, after gaining experience with payments consulting across Europe.