By  on May 8, 2007

David L. Dworkin, a leading retail executive who was a former president and chief operating officer of Neiman Marcus, died Wednesday at his home in Atlanta. He was 63.

Dworkin, most recently chairman, chief executive officer and co-founder of Swoozie's, a chain of 21 gift and stationery stores, had been battling cancer for almost two years, said Amy Wilkinson, Swoozie's vice president of marketing. He was most actively involved in the chain's real estate, store operations and human resources.

Before Swoozie's, which he cofounded in February 2001 with his wife, Kelly, Dworkin was the ceo of several chains, including the former Upton's; Broadway Stores, which was acquired by Federated Department Stores in 1995; British Home Stores and its parent, Storehouse PLC, and the former Bonwit Teller.

Before Dworkin was president and chief operating officer of Neiman' s, he was a vice president and general merchandise manager at Saks Fifth Avenue and also held merchant slots at Marshall Field's, Famous Barr and Abraham & Straus, nameplates that have been converted to Macy's.

"David was really a fascinating, extremely intelligent, thoughtful man with enormous vision," said Ron Frasch, president and chief merchant of Saks Fifth Avenue, who considered Dworkin a mentor. They worked together at Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus.

"He had a unique way of looking at business and evaluating customer trends and segments," Frasch said. "He never got caught up in the minutiae. At Swoozie's, he was intense with customer service and training and developing staff and sent me long e-mails about developing people and leadership and what I should be thinking about in my career. He will be sorely missed."

Dworkin also was a national trustee of The Boys and Girls Clubs of America, where he was once a member.

In addition to his wife, Dworkin is survived by two daughters, Kira Shephard and Wendy Perry; three stepchildren, Ashley, Morgan and Jordan; and five grandchildren. A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. on May 18 at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Atlanta.

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