NEW YORK — The management exodus at Saks Fifth Avenue continues.
This story first appeared in the September 24, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Just days after the revelation that chief executive officer Stephen I. Sadove and president and chief merchant Ron Frasch will leave the upscale retailer when its $2.9 billion acquisition by Hudson’s Bay Co. is completed, Richard Cohen and Marienne Hill-Treadway have resigned.
Cohen, an industry veteran whose background includes Robert Talbott, Ermenegildo Zegna and St. John, had been vice president of business development for Saks since January 2012. He concentrated primarily on the development of Saks’ private men’s brands but also worked on other brand development initiatives for the company.
Cohen was brought into the company by Frasch, so his exit is not surprising.
Reached by telephone while he was traveling in China, Cohen confirmed his departure and said he will disclose his next move in early October.
Hill-Treadway served as vice president of sourcing and brand management at Saks and had also worked at American Eagle Outfitters Inc.’s 77 Kids division as well as Gap Inc. and Kellwood Co. She was brought into Saks by Cohen and could not be reached for comment about her plans.
A spokesman from Saks confirmed the departures and said that Tom Ott, senior vice president and general merchandise manager of men’s wear for the company, is now overseeing the Saks Fifth Avenue Men’s Collection.
Cohen was instrumental in the expansion of the men’s private brand, which was launched in 2009 and has grown into the retailer’s largest-selling men’s label. That success spawned the development of a women’s private brand collection as well. Earlier this year, the line was renamed and segmented into Black, White and Platinum subbrands. The higher-priced Black and Platinum products are being designed by Kim Herring, who worked with Cohen at Ermenegildo Zegna, while the sportswear-centric White label is being designed by Rhett Bonnett, a fledgling men’s wear designer who also produces a line under his own name. Both men are still involved with the label.
There is speculation that the design staff could change once the HBC merger is completed later this year. Joseph Abboud, who designs Lord & Taylor’s successful Black Brown 1826 brand — now a business in excess of $100 million — may either be put in charge of design of the Saks private brand or an upscale version of the Black Brown brand may be added to the Saks offering. Lord & Taylor is a division of Hudson’s Bay Co.
Abboud and HBC ceo Richard Baker were seen walking through the men’s department at the Saks flagship last week, fueling the rumors.
Abboud was traveling in Europe and could not be reached for comment.