Karen Katz, president and chief executive officer of the $4.7 billion Neiman Marcus Group and a 32-year veteran of the business, will soon leave the company, according to sources.
“She is ready for a change. The company has seen some turnaround,” said a source familiar with the situation. “Karen’s had enough.”
For a successor, NMG owners Ares Management and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board are likely to select someone from outside the company and outside of luxury retail. “They want someone with a fresh perspective,” the source said. It’s believed Katz will stay on the Neiman’s board.
Second-in-command at NMG is Jim Gold, chief merchandising officer and president of Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus International. NMG operates the Neiman Marcus department store chain, Bergdorf’s, Neiman Marcus Direct, Mytheresa, Last Call and Horchow.
For the quarter ended Oct. 28, 2017, Neiman’s had revenues of $1.12 billion, an increase of 3.8 percent from $1.08 billion in revenues in the year-ago period. There was a net loss of $26.2 million in the last quarter, compared to $23.5 million in the year-ago quarter. Adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and appreciation was virtually flat at $123.5 million, compared to $122.9 million a year ago.
The losses are still deep and the long-term debt remains high at about $4.4 billion. However, in recent months Katz has cited improvements and momentum in the business. The company did narrow its net loss in its last fiscal year, and Katz said the performance at Neiman’s stores was stabilizing. She also said the company was “doubling down” on digital growth and online services through a strategy called Digital First, and that the new NMG One inventory management system, after a rocky start, had resolved its operational issues which disrupted ordering and information exchange with vendors.
The 60-year-old Katz began her retail career in 1978 in the training program of the now-defunct Foley’s department store chain in Houston. She joined Neiman’s as assistant manager of the Houston store in 1985. She rose up the ranks, becoming divisional merchandise manager of handbags, general manager of the North Park store in Dallas, one of the chain’s biggest volume units, and then senior vice president and director of all stores in 1996. She became an executive vice president in 1998, president and ceo of Neiman Marcus Direct in 2000 and ceo of Neiman Marcus Stores in 2002. In October 2010, she became president and ceo of the entire company.
Neiman Marcus had no comment Thursday, after The Wall Street Journal reported that Katz was leaving the company.