Karen Katz, a longtime Neiman Marcus executive and its president and CEO since 2010, will retire from her post on Feb. 12 when former Ralph Lauren executive Geoffroy van Raemdonck will take the reins, the company confirmed today.
Katz will retain her board seat, a Wall Street Journal report breaking the news of her retirement suggested Thursday.
Van Raemdonck joins Neiman Marcus after serving as group president for EMEA and global travel retail at Ralph Lauren. Prior to that, van Raemdonck was CEO at St. John Knits International Inc. He has also held a variety of executive roles at Louis Vuitton, where he worked from 2008 to 2013.
Katz, who has shouldered criticism in recent years as Neiman Marcus has battled sluggish sales and a heavy debt load stemming from a $6 billion leveraged buyout by Ares Management and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board in 2013, had moved aggressively in recent months to boost the luxury retailer’s digital growth.
Katz’s “Digital First” strategy — which has seen the company place significant investment behind omnichannel sales and the implementation of new technologies — has been reaping dividends, according to the company’s latest earnings report.
In November, the luxury-goods seller announced its first comparable sales gain since 2015. Specifically, its first-quarter comparable sales climbed 4.2 percent, while overall sales increased 3.8 percent to $1.12 billion.
“It has been a unique privilege serving as CEO, and I am proud of the substantial progress and success our team has achieved,” Katz said. “Geoffroy has an impressive track record of success at luxury brands, and he is the right person to lead the company through this next phase of growth.”
Van Raemdonck is expected to continue to carry out the “Digital First” agenda Katz put in place.
“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.”