Byline: Teena Hammond

LOS ANGELES — Jeremiah Sullivan, president and chief operating officer of Macy’s West, apparently has the inside track to succeed Michael Steinberg as chairman, according to inside sources.
Steinberg, 71, as previously noted, reportedly will retire in January from his post as chairman and chief executive officer of the San Francisco-based Macy’s West division of Federated Department Stores Inc. Sullivan, 59, has been president and chief operating officer of Macy’s West since May 1995 and reports to Steinberg.
Macy’s West brass were all in attendance at Macy’s Passport ’99, held here Saturday evening. And the choice of Steinberg’s successor was a chief topic of discussion. During a break in the festivities, one high-ranking executive said, “I’ve been with Michael Steinberg since 1983. It’s so sad to see him go. Jerry Sullivan will be the new chairman, and we’re still waiting for the president of merchandising to be named.”
Sullivan declined to comment on whether he will win the top post, saying, “There hasn’t been an announcement.” Steinberg also declined to comment. Another Macy’s West executive said, “It’s so hard to know when you’re officially allowed to talk about these things.”
Even though Steinberg is widely expected to retire next year, his exit has not yet been confirmed or announced. Nor has there been any hint as to who would be his successor, touching off intense speculation. One name that has popped up in the past has been that of Janet Grove, chairman of the Federated Merchandising Group in New York.
Sullivan came from the Midwest. Before joining Macy’s senior management team in 1995, he was president and chief operating officer of Federated’s Lazarus division.
A native of Chicago, Sullivan began his retail career at Carson Pirie Scott & Co. and in 1979 became vice president and controller of J.W. Robinson’s in Los Angeles. He moved on one year later to Federated, where he was vice president of finance for I. Magnin in San Francisco, which was then a division of Federated. In 1984 he was promoted to executive vice president of I. Magnin. In 1987, he became president of Boston-based Filene’s, also a Federated division at the time, and was promoted to chairman of Filene’s in 1988. The next year he joined Lazarus.
Sullivan will replace the much beloved Steinberg, who has been chairman and chief executive of Macy’s West since he came out of retirement about seven years ago. No effective date for the change in management has been announced.