Macy's (NYSE: M) announced that Jeffrey Gennette, who has served for the past five years as Macy's chief merchandising officer, has been named president, effective immediately. The move could be part of a larger succession plan.
Gennette will report to Terry Lundgren, Macy's chairman and CEO, and continue to be based in New York. He retains the day-to-day responsibility for Macy's merchandising functions, as well as oversight of marketing and macys.com. In addition, he assumes oversight responsibility for Macy's store brands including INC.
The appointment could point to signs that Macy's is putting a succession plan in place, as Lundgren relinquishes the title of president.
Lundgren declined to confirm or comment on the larger implications, telling Reuters that the appointment was an endorsement of Gennette's performance and growing importance within the organization. "It's a clear message that this is one of our top-performing individuals to give him such a huge responsibility," Lundgren said.
"Jeff Gennette is an outstanding merchant who has proven to be an insightful strategist and strong leader in our company," Lundgren said. "As our president, with the additional responsibility for Macy's private brands, Gennette will have a total view of Macy's merchandise assortment and marketing strategy – both in stores and online – consistent with our omnichannel vision. Our exclusive private brands, which have provided a powerful competitive advantage for Macy's, will continue to play a vitally important role in delivering fashion, quality and value to our customers."
Gennette, joined Macy's in 2009 as chief merchandising officer and previously served as chairman and CEO of Macy's West. He has worked within the Macy's West organization in a variety of roles since 1983.
Macy's also announced Tuesday a partnership with Maker Studios to launch a new online reality program, "The Next Style Star."
The fashion lifestyle series pits 16 aspiring fashion stylists against each other for a $10,000 cash prize, a chance to serve as a guest stylist on an upcoming Macy's photo shoot, and have his or her winning look featured in the Impulse Department at Macy's Herald Square in Manhattan.
Macy's has been busy wooing millennials with digital marketing programs. The retailer partnered with YouTube fashion network StyleHaul to air a series of videos promoting merchandise in September 2013.
Macy's "The Next Style Star" will debut April 3 on Maker's fashion and beauty network, The Platform, on YouTube.
Macy's, Nordstrom pilot 7-ft. 'digital storefront' inside mall
Macy's turns to YouTube to grab millennials
Macy's to expand click-and-collect, pilots same-day delivery
Macy's wins over holiday shoppers but winter storms freeze sales
Macy's goes big with Shaquille O'Neal menswear