Neiman Marcus Holding Co. Inc. has appointed Paul Brown non-executive chair of its board of directors.

The appointment expands Neiman’s board to seven members.

Brown currently serves as cofounder and chief executive officer of Inspire Brands, one of the larger restaurant companies in the U.S., which is expected to close on its deal to acquire Dunkin’ Brands this month.

In addition to Inspire, Brown’s career over the past 20 years includes leadership roles at Hilton, Expedia, McKinsey and Co. and Boston Consulting Group.

In its statement Monday, Neiman’s described Brown as “uniquely qualified in guiding transformative initiatives, leading successful customer loyalty programs, and driving e-commerce and digital platforms.”

“He has deep expertise in brand management and consumer loyalty strategies,” said Geoffroy van Raemdonck, chief executive officer of Neiman Marcus Group. “His track record of leading transformation and innovation for consumer-driven companies will deliver incredible value for Neiman Marcus Group as we build on our strong foundation and accelerate our strategy to become the preeminent luxury customer platform. Paul’s diverse perspectives support our company’s continued passion for creating magic for our customers, delivering value to our brand partners and evolving the luxury retail experience.”

Paul Brown 

In 2018, Brown cofounded Inspire Brands, a restaurant company generating more than $14 billion in annual sales. Inspire Brands’ portfolio includes more than 11,000 Arby’s, Buffalo Wild Wings, Sonic Drive-In, Rusty Taco and Jimmy John’s locations worldwide. The deal to acquire Dunkin’ Brands was revealed on Oct. 30 this year.

Brown said the Neiman Marcus Group is poised for “a strong future.…I’m excited to join the board at this important moment in time as the company sets its sights on being the preeminent luxury customer platform.”

Brown is a member of the board of directors of H&R Block and Focus Brands. He also serves on several non-profit boards, including Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and the Georgia Tech Foundation.

The previous chairman was David Kaplan, cofounder and partner in Ares Management private equity firm. Ares and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board took over the Neiman Marcus Group in a $6 billion leveraged buyout in 2013. Since then, Neiman’s was burdened by the debt load, which cut into profitability and limited the retailer’s ability to invest back into the business. The pandemic and the debt forced NMG to file for bankruptcy in May.

Through a debt-for-equity deal, Neiman Marcus eliminated more than $4 billion of debt and significant annual cash interest payments stemming from the debt, and emerged from bankruptcy late last September, with new owners and a new board. The new owners are investment management firms, Pimco and Sixth Street, and Davidson Kempner Capital Management.

The new board members are:

  • Pauline Brown, who most recently served as the chairman of North America for LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton and earlier held senior executive roles at The Carlyle Group and Estée Lauder Cos.
  • Pamela Edwards, who will be chief financial officer of CitiTrends in January, a national apparel, accessories and home trends retailer; and most recently served as cfo of the Mast Global and Victoria’s Secret divisions of L Brands.
  • Kris Miller, who most recently served as the chief strategy officer for eBay, and is a former partner and director at Bain & Co.
  • Meka Millstone-Shroff, formerly with Buy Buy Baby from 2007 to 2018 and currently a strategic operating adviser and board member on a variety of companies.
  • Van Raemdonck, ceo of Neiman Marcus Group since February 2018.
  • Scott D. Vogel, managing member at Vogel Partners LLC, a private investment and advisory firm and former managing director at Davidson Kempner Capital Management and at MFP Investors.