Neiman Marcus taps luxury and retail vet as new chief executive

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Neiman Marcus taps luxury and retail vet as new chief executive

By Marianne Wilson - 01/05/2018
Neiman Marcus Group has named a former Ralph Lauren executive as its new CEO.

The luxury department store retailer, still struggling under a heavy debt load, announced the retirement of Karen Katz as president and CEO, effective February 12, 2018. She will be succeeded by Geoffroy van Raemdonck, who most recently served as group president for EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) and global travel retail at Ralph Lauren, where he led the transformation of all brands across full and off-price stores, wholesale and digital, according to a release.

Katz has held the top job at Neiman Marcus since 2010, and has worked at the company for some 32 years. She will continue to serve on Neiman’s board and will work closely with van Raemdonck to facilitate a seamless transition process, the retailer said. Katz's resignation follows that of John Koryl, president of Neiman Marcus stores and online, who stepped stepped down late last year.

“As CEO, Karen helped establish Neiman Marcus as a digital leader in luxury fashion and retail and put the company on a path for long-term growth,” said David Kaplan, chairman. “We are extremely grateful for her vision and significant contributions, which have spanned over 30 years at the company, including the last seven as CEO, and look forward to continuing our work together on the board.”

Prior to joining Ralph Lauren in 2014, van Raemdonck served as CEO at St. John Knits International, where he is credited with launching a turnaround of the American luxury brand. Before that, he held a variety of global leadership roles at Louis Vuitton from 2008 to 2013.

“Neiman Marcus manages one of the most iconic brand portfolios in fashion retailing, and I am excited to build on the great foundation Karen created during her tenure,” said van Raemdonck. “I look forward to working closely with the leadership team, the company’s 14,000 employees globally and our luxury brand partners as we continue to innovate and engage our loyal customers in new ways.”

Neiman Marcus is burdened with roughly $4.4 billion in long-term net debt, the result of two leveraged buyouts. The luxury retailer had explored the idea of being acquired by Hudson’s Bay Company, which also has a big debt load, but the deal never came together.

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