(Adds analyst comment)
By Phil Wahba
NEW YORK, March 31 Macy's Inc said on
Monday it promoted its chief merchandising officer, Jeffrey
Gennette, to president of the company, in a move that positions
him to potentially become the retailer's next chief executive.
In addition to continuing to serve as Macy's Inc's chief
merchant, Gennette will manage Macy's in-house brands, such as
INC, which generate 20 percent of company revenue. Gennette also
oversees the department store chain's marketing and e-commerce.
The chief executive of Macy's, Terry Lundgren, who is giving
up the title of president, declined to say whether the
appointment was connected to the company's succession planning.
But he said the promotion was an endorsement of Gennette's
importance to the retailer.
"It's a clear message that this is one of our top-performing
individuals to give him such as huge responsibility," Lundgren,
62, told Reuters in an interview.
Lundgren has been CEO since February 2003. On his watch,
Macy's has pulled ahead of rivals such as J.C. Penney Co Inc
, Kohl's Corp and Sears Holdings in
terms of growth.
Gennette's promotion shows Macy's continues to see
merchandising skills as essential in a future CEO, said Walter
Loeb, president of retail consulting firm Loeb Associates,
noting Macy's long tradition of naming merchants to its top job.
"They've appointed an excellent merchant," Loeb said. "The
only way a retailer has a direction, a point of view for the
consumer, is through the merchandise."
Gennette, 52, will continue to be based in New York. In his
new role, he will have no responsibility for the upscale
Bloomingdale's chain, which is owned by Macy's Inc.
Gennette has been Macy's chief merchant since 2009. He
started with Macy's in 1983, when he worked at Macy's West as an
executive trainee. Since then, his stints at the company have
included CEO of Macy's West and Macy's Northwest.
(Reporting by Phil Wahba in New York; Editing by Steve Orlofsky
and Leslie Adler)