Jeff Gennette takes on hardest job in retail

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Jeff Gennette takes on hardest job in retail


Longtime Macy's executive Gennette assumed the top job at the department store chain when former CEO Terry Lundgren moved into the role of executive chairman.

Gennette finds himself at the helm of a company that is closing storess in a waning sector of retail. Customers are being drained from key traffic generating departments such as health and beauty by red hot competitors such as Ulta. Meanwhile, purchases of the core offering of apparel and accessories continue to migrate to online competitors, which Macy's has sought to counter with escalating levels of promotional intensity that have become less effective.

“Jeff will be a terrific CEO for Macy’s, Inc. He has a deep knowledge of this company, coupled with the vision and determination to continue Macy’s transformation for the next generation. Jeff has a proven track record as a successful retail operator, seasoned merchant and business leader and has contributed significantly to the company’s long history of success,” said Lundgren. “I’ve been honored to lead this great company, am thrilled to be passing the baton to such an exceptional leader, and look forward to my continued role on the board of directors.”

Macy's announced in January that it would be closing 68 stores and laying-off some 4,000 employees nationwide.

Prior to CEO, Gennette was president of Macy’s, Inc. since March 2014. Previously, he was chief merchandising officer of Macy’s, Inc. (formerly known as Federated Department Stores, Inc.), a position to which he was appointed in February 2009.

Gennette began his retail career in 1983 as an executive trainee at Macy’s West in San Francisco. He held positions of increasing responsibilities, including vice president and division merchandise manager for men’s collections, and senior vice president and general merchandise manager for men’s and children’s. In 2004, Gennette was appointed executive vice president and director of stores at Macy’s Central in Atlanta. During his career, he also served as a store manager for FAO Schwarz and director of stores for Broadway Stores, Inc. From February 2006 to February 2008, Gennette served as chairman and chief executive officer of Seattle-based Macy’s Northwest. February 2008 to February 2009 brought him back to San Francisco as chairman and CEO of Macy’s West.