The company announced today that Vanessa LeFebvre, VP and general merchandise manager of women’s at online subscription service retailer Stitch Fix, will become the department store’s president, effective May 22. She will take the reins from Liz Rodbell, who led the historic retailer since 2014 before announcing her resignation in April.
“Vanessa is a change agent with a track record of conceptualizing and building new lines of business. This, combined with her strong experience leading digitally-focused strategies and understanding of department store retailing, makes her the right person to lead Lord & Taylor into the future,” said Helena Foulkes, CEO, HBC.
LeFebvre — who started her retail career at Lord & Taylor, had spent 10 years as a buyer and DMM at the chain. LeFebvre went on to senior roles at several retailers including Macy’s, TJX Companies and Daffy’s.
Before her departure, former Lord & Taylor leader Rodbell, who had spent more than 30 years with the department store, had implemented several modern strategies to position the struggling 191-year-old retailer for the future amid digital disruption — among them, a eyebrow-raising partnership with Walmart.
Still, the future of the department store has been uncertain. Facing increased pressures from an activist investor that criticized its lagging profitability, HBC in October sold much of Lord & Taylor’s New York flagship to office company WeWork for $850 million. The company said that by 2019, the 650,000-square-foot building will be transformed into office space for all but a remaining 150,000 square feet, which will house a significantly pared-down store.
“This is an exciting time to join Lord & Taylor as we evolve our model and merchandise assortment to best meet customer expectations and shopping preferences,” said LeFebvre of her new post.
She will report directly to Foulkes.