By  on February 12, 2009

One thing is clear: Kevin Morrissey and Stuart Goldblatt are the two men’s merchants who wound up on top after the announcement earlier this month of Macy’s Inc.’s plan to centralize its far-flung corporation.

Morrissey is executive vice president and general merchandise manager of men’s wear for Macy’s East, and Goldblatt is executive vice president and gmm of men’s for the Macy’s Merchandise Group, which is being transformed into Macy’s Private Brands.

What has yet to be determined, however, is the fate of Paul Fitzpatrick, Les Steiger and Cary Friedman, the three gmm’s at the soon-to-be-dismantled Macy’s West, Central and Florida divisions, respectively.

“The first level of gmm decision making has been made,” said a Macy’s spokesman. But nothing beyond that. “We’re looking at the individual strengths and interests now. Keep in mind, many positions have not yet been filled, and we have many decisions yet to make.”

He stressed the changes are not due to take effect until the second quarter, so there’s time to explore how these and the other impacted employees — 1,400 at Macy’s West in San Francisco, 850 at Macy’s Central in Atlanta and 600 at Macy’s Florida in Miami — can fit into the new structure. He also noted Sue Gardner has been named executive vice president, gmm for men’s in Macy’s Merchandise Planning division, the group that will be responsible for centralized merchandise planning and assortment allocations by store, as well as the district-region merchandise planning structure and function.

At the time of the announcement, Terry Lundgren, Macy’s chairman, president and chief executive officer, said: “Reducing our workforce is an unfortunate outcome of the current economic environment, and I am frustrated that so many of our people will be unable to move forward with us. Be assured we will be sensitive to all affected employees, work diligently to find other positions for as many of them as possible and treat everyone with respect and honesty.”

Vendors and Macy’s merchants are hoping the affected men’s wear executives may find homes within the compacted merchandising organization, possibly as divisional merchandise managers below Morrissey.

“Kevin now has a chance to upgrade the team,” said one longtime men’s apparel vendor. He noted Steiger has a background in classifications and sportswear and Friedman is an expert in the young men’s business. Fitzpatrick, because of his role at Macy’s West, traditionally the most fashion-forward of the divisions, could find a place focusing on contemporary merchandise.

The vendor stressed these merchants can also provide Morrissey with knowledge of markets outside of New York City, since Morrissey has spent his career in the Northeast at Macy’s and Abraham & Straus.

Regardless of how the chips may ultimately fall within the men’s division, it will have a champion in its overall leader. Jeff Gennette, currently ceo of Macy’s West, was designated to be the company’s new chief merchandising officer after the centralization is complete. Gennette, who will relocate to New York, has a strong men’s background. He is the head of the company’s internal men’s wear buying team, and over the course of his 25-plus-year career at Macy’s, has held several men’s buying posts, including dmm and gmm.

“What’s good about the new structure,” the vendor said, “is that almost all of the new chiefs are former merchants, so there’s a lot of merchant talent at the table.”

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