Thomas L. Cole, one of the behind-the-scenes pillars at Macy’s Inc., is retiring as chief administrative officer in May, after a 41-year retail career.

This story first appeared in the January 29, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

His departure has triggered changes in the organization, including naming William S. Allen chief human resources officer. Allen reports to Terry J. Lundgren, chairman, president and chief executive officer. Allen was senior vice president of AP Moller-Maersk A/S, based in Copenhagen. He will oversee Macy’s human resources, diversity strategies, corporate communications and external affairs and will have administrative responsibility for the law function.

Robert B. Harrison, previously executive vice president for the omnichannel strategy, has become chief omnichannel officer, a new role, and will continue to manage strategies to integrate the stores, online and mobile activities, as well as be responsible for systems and technology, logistics and related operating functions.


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Karen Hoguet, chief financial officer, will assume additional responsibility for credit and customer services, real estate, nonmerchandise purchasing and sustainability. All the company’s finance and accounting functions report to Hoguet. In addition, she will have administrative responsibility for the internal audit function that reports directly to Lundgren.

Peter Sachse, chief stores officer, will also handle store planning, design and construction. Macy’s stores, as well as the region, district and central stores organization and visual merchandising, continue to report to Sachse.

Hoguet, Harrison and Sachse report to Lundgren and are members of the executive committee.

“These adjustments to our senior leadership team provide continuity and strengthen our ability to innovate as we work to maximize results in the years ahead from our core business strategies, including My Macy’s localization, omnichannel alignment and customer engagement,” Lundgren said.

He said the 64-year-old Cole guided the company’s operations and key corporate functions through periods of unprecedented change. “Tom’s influence has been particularly profound over the past seven years as we integrated the acquisition of the May Department Stores Co., migrated to the nationwide Macy’s brand, developed new business and organization structures, aggressively pursued our omnichannel vision and improved our customer shopping experience,” Lundgren said. Cole’s “exceptional work,” Lundgren noted, strengthened Macy’s.

Cole began his career in 1972 at Allied Stores Corp., which was later merged into Federated Department Stores Inc., which was eventually taken over by Macy’s Inc. Cole joined Federated in 1980 as vice president/controller of the I. Magnin division, worked in financial and administrative roles at Federated Merchandising Group, rose to president there, and later chairman of Federated Logistics & Operations in 1995. He assumed additional responsibilities for the Federated Systems Group in 2001 and Federated’s financial, administrative and credit services division in 2002. Cole became a vice chair of Macy’s Inc. in 2003 until 2009, when he was appointed chief administrative officer.

Harrison, 49, has served as Macy’s executive vice president for omnichannel strategy since July. Before that, he was executive vice president for finance since 2011, president for stores since 2009 and president and chief operating officer of Macy’s West since 2008.

Hoguet, 56, has served as Macy’s cfo since 1997. Sachse, 54, was named Macy’s chief stores officer in February and had been chief marketing officer since February 2009, along with serving as chairman and ceo of since April 2006. He was president of Macy’s corporate marketing from 2003 to 2006.

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