NEW YORK -- Joseph Cicio, chairman and chief executive officer of I. Magnin, is planning to resign from the San Francisco-based specialty chain in about a month, it was learned Monday.
Cicio could not be reached for comment and Myron E. Ullman, chairman and chief executive of R.H. Macy & Co., said Monday afternoon, "He hasn't told me." Cicio's departure could be a big blow to the upscale division. Under his leadership, I. Magnin has been solidifying designer and bridge offerings, drawing new customers and coming closer to profitability.
Nonetheless, speculation that the chain will be sold has persisted, although rumors of a liquidation have been quelled. Since parent Macy's went bankrupt in January 1992, five I. Magnin stores have closed, but two were opened and renovations were completed in the remaining 10 units.
In an interview last April, Cicio said, "The hardest part of Chapter 11 was settling the market down so I could build relationships going forward, and getting people off questions like, 'Are you going to close?' or, 'When are you liquidating?"'
At the time, Cicio, a 20-year veteran of Macy's, spoke optimistically about the chain's prospects, even though sources have said that living on the West Coast has been difficult for him because it has forced him to spend too much time away from his three-year-old son, Christopher, who lives in New York.
He took the helm at I. Magnin in September 1992, succeeding Rose Marie Bravo, who became president of Saks Fifth Avenue. At the time, Cicio was R.H. Macy's senior vice president of fashion direction and creative resources. The appointment was a surprise, since Cicio's talents are in visual merchandising and store design, not with numbers.
While in the corporate offices of Macy's, he was credited with creating some of the most visually striking department stores in the industry. One of his favorites is The Mall of America unit in Minneapolis. Its 90-foot escalator ride affords broad views of the three-level, 280,000-square-foot store and its soaring atrium.
R.H. Macy operates Macy's and Bullock's department stores, and I. Magnin, Aeropostale and other specialty stores.
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