NEW YORK — Jerome T. Loeb, a 37-year veteran of The May Department Stores Co. and former chairman of the board, died last week. He was 63.

“Jerry Loeb was a special person and a remarkable man. He was an outstanding businessman, strategist and leader,” said Gene Kahn, May’s chief executive officer. “He was also a great friend, mentor and role model to so many. During his 37-year career, he had a profound impact on the growth and results of the May Department Stores. His accomplishments set the bar and serve as a beacon for all of us. Jerry’s imprint and legacy with May will continue on.”

Born in St. Louis on Sept. 13, 1940, Loeb’s background prior to entering the retail industry was somewhat unconventional. In 1962 he graduated magna cum laude from Tufts University with a degree in mathematics and physics. He then earned a master’s degree in pure mathematics from Washington University in 1964. Retailers at the time tended to hold more traditional business degrees.

After graduation, Loeb joined the company’s Famous-Barr department store. By 1972, Loeb served as a divisional vice president, and in 1974 he was named corporate vice president of management information systems. In the late 1970s and the 1980s, Loeb held a variety of positions at May Co.

In 1986, while serving as vice chairman of the company, Loeb, along with then-chairman and ceo David Farrell and then-president Thomas Hays, helped lead the acquisition of Associated Dry Goods.

At the time it was the largest acquisition in retail history, and brought Lord & Taylor and several other department store operations under the May umbrella. Two years later, the same team helmed the acquisition of Filene’s and Foley’s.

Loeb was appointed president of the company in June 1993, and promoted to chairman of the board in 1998.

Throughout his career Loeb was active in numerous charitable organizations, and in 1989 established the Loeb Prize with his wife, Carol. The annual prize recognizes excellent math and science teachers.

Since retiring from May in April 2001, Loeb had served as an adjunct professor of marketing at Washington University’s Olin School of Business.— Ross Tucker

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