NEW YORK — When Burt Tansky retired as chairman and chief executive officer of the Neiman Marcus Group, the industry was concerned how “Mr. Luxury” would adapt to his new lifestyle after 50 years in retailing. “I’m keeping busy doing nothing,” Tansky said Tuesday.

This story first appeared in the May 25, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

He retired from Neiman’s last October but resurfaced Tuesday at a breakfast at the Harmonie Club on 60th Street, sponsored by the World Retail Congress. This year’s WRC will be held in Berlin, Sept. 25 to 28. According to Ian McGarrigle, WRC’s director, the event will focus on the digital revolution, multichannel retailing, mobile technology, inflation and consumer insights.

It’s also where Tansky will be inducted into WRC’s Retail Hall of Fame, joining a group of past and present ceo’s: J. Crew’s Mickey Drexler; Bloomingdale’s Michael Gould and his predecessor, Marvin Traub; Gordon Segal of Crate & Barrel, and Brad Anderson of Best Buy.

After just a touch of levity, Tansky played it straight addressing the crowd, many of whom were of an age nearing retirement. “It’s not that bad, not bad at all,” Tansky said of life after retailing. “I never thought it would be nice to do what you want to do,” Tansky said, noting he’s on a few boards, is NMG’s non-executive chairman and has a gig working part-time as a senior adviser at Marvin Traub Associates.

“With Burt, you’ve got to learn to be right on time,” said Antony Karabus, retail adviser with PwC, formerly referred to as PricewaterhouseCoopers, who has done consulting for Neiman’s. “If you’re two minutes late, Burt would ask why. If you are two minutes early, he’d asked ‘Don’t you have any other accounts?’.…He would always push us and ask if you dug deep enough. He has passion for products and was fiercely protective of the brand.”

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