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News Bites | Neiman Marcus Still Searching for a CFO, Amazon Fashion Names New President

In today's News Bites, the Neiman Marcus Group names Dale Stapleton as its new interim chief financial officer, while Amazon appoints Christine Beauchamp president of its fast-growing fashion division.
Neiman Marcus store | Source: Shutterstock
  • BoF Team

Welcome to News Bites, BoF's regular feature of the stories that get the industry talking.

Neiman Marcus Group names new interim chief financial officer amidst period of turmoil and uncertainty.

The Neiman Marcus Group announced on Friday that interim chief financial and operating officer Michael Fung will step down at the end of June, ending what was always meant to be a temporary run at the beleaguered department store group. Fung oversaw changes to NMG One, the company’s new common merchandising system for inventory at Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman and off-price segment Last Call. In March, issues with the functionality of the system negatively impacted revenue and required additional costs to fix.

"Michael has done an excellent job," said chief executive officer Karen Katz in a statement. "His leadership and extensive experience have brought significant progress with NMG One. We very much appreciate Michael's commitment and service to NMG."

Fung is on the board of 99 Cents Only Stores, which is owned by the same firms that own the Neiman Marcus Group: Ares Management LLC and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board.

While NMG searches for a permanent CFO, current senior vice president and chief accounting officer Dale Stapleton will take over the role. The peculiar turn of events comes in a moment of transition for the company, underscoring the uncertainties facing the debt-laden retailer.

After readying itself for a potential sale at the beginning of the year, it is unclear if another entity will acquire NMG. (Hudson's Bay Company, the department store group owned by real estate developer Richard Baker that has pursued a strategy of consolidation, was rumored for months to be the most likely suitor, but no deal has yet been reached.) Despite restructuring its debt, NMG might prove to be too troubled for any prospective buyer.

In addition to a CFO, Neiman Marcus is also looking for a replacement for Bergdorf Goodman president Josh Schulman, who left in May for Coach. — Chantal Fernandez

Amazon Fashion names Christine Beauchamp as president.

Amazon announced Friday that Christine Beauchamp will succeed former president Cathy Beaudoin, who exited in April after leading the e-commerce giant's fashion division for a transformative eight years. Amazon's apparel sales will increase 30 percent to $28 billion in 2017, according to a report by Cowen & Co.

Beauchamp’s experience in branded apparel retail could be a boon for Amazon as it continues to pick up market share in the category and invest in data-driven private labels, including activewear and lingerie.

Currently a senior adviser at Boston Consulting Group, Beauchamp exited Ralph Lauren in May 2016 after eight months at the company, where she was global brand president for Lauren and Chaps. She departed for personal reasons amidst a management restructuring while Stefan Larsson was still chief executive. (Larsson subsequently stepped down in February 2017 after disagreements with the company's chairman and namesake on creative direction.)

Beauchamp began her career at Goldman Sachs and Boston Consulting Group before L Brands chief executive Les Wexner hired her to overhaul Express and Victoria’s Secret in 2003. Two years later, he named her president — and later chief executive — of Victoria’s Secret. She then spent four years as brand president of Ann Taylor.

The exec has also invested in and advised small to mid-sized fashion companies including Carbon38 and Serena & Lily, both personally and through private equity fund Proteo. — Chantal Fernandez

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