SERRA TAKES CEO SLOT AT VENATOR
Byline: Arnold J. Karr
NEW YORK — Matthew Serra has been named president and chief executive officer of Venator Group.
J. Carter Bacot, a member of Venator’s board and former ceo of The Bank of New York, has been named nonexecutive chairman of the board.
Both appointments are effective March 4 and fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Dale Hilpert as chairman and ceo to become ceo of Williams-Sonoma.
Serra became Venator’s chief operating officer a year ago and added president to his title last April, when Roger Farah resigned as Venator’s chairman to become president and chief operating officer of Polo Ralph Lauren Corp. Hilpert succeeded Farah as ceo, with the latter becoming chairman, in August 1999.
Together, Farah and Hilpert engineered the turnaround of Venator, renaming the company, known since its founding as Woolworth; excising unprofitable operations, including the Woolworth’s discount store division, and redirecting the firm to a focus on athletic footwear and apparel.
The cornerstone of that focus is the Foot Locker Worldwide division, which Serra supervised as president and ceo for two years beginning in 1998. He had spent five years as chairman and ceo of Federated’s Sterns division prior to joining Foot Locker.
“Matt undertook the task of strengthening the company’s athletic business over the past two years, and the results attest to the quality of his leadership,” Bacot said in a statement. “With this in mind, Matt will have full responsibility for the corporate strategy and day-to-day operations of the company.”
In the same statement, Serra said that Venator’s plans for the coming year include continuing to “streamline operations, improve profitability and strengthen Venator Group’s financial position.”