COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — One of the world’s largest Christian media and music providers, David C Cook announced today that John Aden will serve as the ministry’s new CEO, effective immediately.
At some of the world’s top companies, including Walmart Inc., Mac Tools and Frito-Lay, and for more than 25 years, Aden has been a senior executive delivering record growth, leveraging scale, driving innovation and building high-performance teams across the globe. As president of Mac Tools, he pioneered strategic partnerships with NASCAR, the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) and two TV shows, Monster Garage and Pimp My Ride, turning a struggling company into an industry leader. Most recently, John excelled in roles as executive vice president and senior vice president at Walmart, including leading the $50 billion General Merchandise unit to exceed all expectations and turning the declining Hardlines division into one of the fastest growing categories in Walmart.
Yet, Aden considers David C Cook his biggest assignment to date.
“I see this moment as such a critical time for the global church. The pandemic, politics and other challenges have taken a toll. Yet, I know that a united, vibrant church is God’s most powerful agent for reaching a lost world,” said Aden. “As I look back at my career, I am absolutely convinced that every experience, every skill developed, and every opportunity has been in preparation for my role at David C Cook. I believe there’s nothing more important for me to do at this stage in my life than use my unique talents to help serve, equip and grow the Church.”
David C Cook retained Korn Ferry, an internationally known executive search firm, to conduct an exhaustive executive search, using rigorous qualifications established by the board of directors. Out of more than 200 applicants, Aden rose to the top and was the unanimous choice based on his notable global leadership experience, background in delivering customer-centric solutions, emphasis on innovation and impressive resume of enhancement and growth.
Under Aden’s leadership, expect big things to happen, because he’s known for it. With global experience spanning five continents and 28 different countries, Aden plans to use the tools of customer insight, leveraging scale, and innovation to help authors, artists and creatives share God’s truth and build disciples around the world.
“Innovation is in the DNA of this ministry,” said Aden. “With this talented team, authors and musicians, David C Cook is uniquely positioned and qualified to be used by God to revitalize the local church—especially the tens of thousands of small churches with limited resources. I’m calling on a generation of content creators, digital developers and like-minded partners to join us as we lead and act NOW.”
Aden begins his role today with an intense focus on reigniting the heritage of David C Cook. The same priorities of consumer insights, innovation, solutions and scale that have made the organization great since 1875 will be activated to quickly accelerate into the future.
Aden believes the future is bright for David C Cook and that there is a new generation of authors, artists and digital creatives who share in the ministry’s passion for serving the church with world-class innovation. Aden desires for David C Cook to become a destination for creative geniuses being called to impact the church through relevant, creative and thoughtful, Christian resources.
About David C Cook
David C Cook is a global nonprofit equipping individuals and church leaders with vital learning and worship resources. David C Cook’s desire is for individuals and faith groups to experience the transforming power of the gospel through music and media that fit the culture, language and spiritual needs of their communities.
David C Cook was founded in Chicago, Ill., in 1875 by David Caleb Cook, a businessman who began publishing pamphlets on lessons and songs that equipped local churches for ministry to children displaced by the Great Chicago Fire. Over the years, David C Cook has grown from a Sunday school curriculum publisher to one of the world’s largest providers of dynamic and relevant media and music designed to equip the global church and individuals with creative, Christian content.
About John Aden
For more than 25 years, John Aden has been a senior executive at some of the world’s top companies, including Walmart Inc., Mac Tools and Frito-Lay.
John joined Walmart in 2007 as senior vice president of international operations. In this role, John and his team built the first warehouse in India, expanded logistics capabilities in Brazil and Japan, developed proprietary integration tools to create value in acquisitions, led the company’s exploratory efforts in Africa and leveraged global brands to drive sales. In 2009, John realigned the global support functions to create an “International Leverage Team” which generated $250 million in productivity its first year.
In 2011, John moved into U.S. Merchandising as senior vice president of Hardlines, which had been experiencing declining sales for years. He and his team immediately developed a strategy to reignite Hardline categories that were once the foundation of Walmart’s business. The team focused on consumer trends and engaged with supplier partners to bring big ideas to life. Within six months, sales were positive and Hardlines quickly became one of the fastest-growing categories at Walmart.
Later that year, John was promoted to executive vice president of General Merchandising, with sales exceeding $50 billion. Once again, consumer insights, supplier collaboration and innovation were leveraged to drive growth, especially in the entertainment categories. The growth and innovation under John’s leadership was recognized in Hollywood at the 2013 Consumer Electronic Show (CES), when Walmart was awarded Retailer of the Year. Following CES, John became executive vice president of Merchandise Services, leading the support functions for all of Walmart U.S. merchandising. In 2014, John transitioned into the role of executive vice president of Merchandise Innovations, where he and his team developed a framework for accelerating innovation. The division also launched the Walmart To-Go convenience store format—a concept that moved from an idea to operational in only six months.
Prior to joining Walmart, John served as president of Mac Tools from 2000 to 2007. During that time, the company was part retailer, part distributor and part manufacturer of Professional Mechanic’s Tools. Mac Tools had a complex distribution network in the U.S., Canada, United Kingdom and Japan, as well as manufacturing and sourcing in the U.S., Taiwan and China. When John started in 2000, Mac Tools required a significant turnaround following multiple years of negative profitability. In just a few years, John and his team implemented systemic change, and Mac Tools became an industry leader. The brand was given a facelift and began leveraging partnerships with the Monster Garage and Pimp My Ride TV shows, as well as the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) and NASCAR. The entire strategic positioning of the company was redefined by leadership to focus on creating “customers for life.”
Before joining Mac Tools, John worked in a variety of positions in operations, marketing, sales and brand management for Frito-Lay from 1990 to 2000. He started his career with Frito-Lay on a route truck in Seattle after graduating from the University of Washington in 1990. Within just a few months, he was promoted to district manager. He left the company in 2000 as a regional vice president, in which he oversaw the Midwest region with annual revenues of $480 million and 2,500 full-time employees.
Since leaving Walmart in 2015, John has continued to engage in personal and professional projects that align with his interests in consumer insights, innovation, leadership development and faith in the workplace. Formerly chairman of the CEO Forum, John continues to invest time in the organization as a mentor of leadership development with current CEOs. He also recently built a successful cattle operation from scratch, leveraging industry innovation to build a high-quality herd of more than 1,000 cattle.
John and his wife, Kristal, have been married for 25 years and have two children. Their daughter Julia graduated in June 2021 with a degree in nursing and is a registered nurse in northwest Arkansas. Their son Joey attends school and plays baseball at The Ohio State University.
David C Cook
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Religion News Service or Religion News Foundation.