Albert M. Kronick, former chairman and chief executive officer of Abraham & Straus, died Sunday morning after a brief illness.
Kronick, 93, was a resident of Brooklyn, N.Y. He received his MBA from Harvard Business School in 1949 after service as a B-17 bomber pilot in World War II and often reminded people that he had his pilot’s license before receiving his driver’s license. The same year, Kronick joined the A&S training program and subsequently became a general merchandise manager at A&S. In 1967, he was named chairman of Sanger-Harris in Dallas. He returned to A&S as chairman and ceo in 1970 and retired in 1973. Both the Sanger-Harris and A&S nameplates are owned by Federated Departments Stores, now known as Macy’s Inc., which is the nameplate that the stores now operate under.
Kronick’s daughter, Susan Kronick, a former vice chairman of Macy’s Inc., said Monday that her father died peacefully in his sleep. Susan said of her father: “He had 93 good years and seven bad days. He refused to be diminished in any way. He said ‘Why ruin a great life?’”
Susan, who retired from Macy’s in 2010, said it probably was no surprise that she ended up in “my father’s profession,” recalling the nights spent as a child watching him count up the Kimball tickets to get a tally of the day’s sales receipts.
She said her father was head of A&S during the time of department stores’ heyday when they began their move toward suburban expansion. “My father and [the late] Marvin Traub were classmates at Harvard Business School, and Marvin’s oldest son and I grew up together….My father retired in 1973 at age 49, the year I joined Bloomingdale’s. He was at the top of his game and decided that there were a lot of interesting things to do. He became a retail consultant and sat on a number of boards,” Susan said. Traub was the former chairman and ceo of Bloomingdale’s.
Leonard Lauder, chairman emeritus of The Estée Lauder Cos. Inc., described Kronick as “a man who was one of the giants in the retail industry from 1960 to 1990. Everything he did was class. Everything he did was solid. He did it with an eye toward the future of what the store [should be]. He never put the store’s equity on the line by having too many sales. He was probably one of the most solid merchants I have ever met and I admired him tremendously. And he was a nice man on top of that.”
Michael Gould, former chairman and ceo of Bloomingdale’s, said, “I was a buyer and merchandise manager when he was ceo at A&S. He was a real gentleman and really bright. He was very smart and had a view of the world that was beyond retailer. He set a great example for what young buyers had to be and how to run the business.”
In addition to his daughter, Kronick is survived by his wife of 68 years, Joan Kronick, and his son Rick Kronick. A celebration of his life will be held in the near future.