NEW YORK — Scott Bowman, I. Magnin president and chief merchandising officer, has been promoted to chief executive officer, succeeding Joseph Cicio, who resigned in June.

Cicio, who is expected to remain at Magnin’s until the end of this month, was also chairman of the San Francisco-based upscale specialty division of R.H. Macy & Co. However, that position will not be filled.

Bowman retains the title of president and reports to Michael Steinberg, chairman and ceo of Macy’s West, also based in San Francisco, putting the formerly separate Magnin under that division.

Cicio reported to Myron E. Ullman, chairman and ceo of R.H. Macy.

Some observers were puzzled by the appointment, noting that Bowman’s strength in operations and men’s might mean Magnin was in a holding pattern until the fate of its parent was determined.

But Bowman said Thursday that Magnin was “very aggressively planning its business for fall. We’re doing anything but sitting back to wait and see what happens.”

He noted that the women’s designer business has been strong through spring, and early fall results were encouraging. While bridge career sportswear is difficult now, casual bridge is doing well, as are accesssories, particularly in the designer area. The company is opening a new Giorgio Armani Black Label boutique within the next two weeks.

“We’re looking to intensify our vendor relationships in bridge to regain our dominant position in that area,” he said.

As for reporting to Steinberg, with whom he had worked in previous roles at Macy’s, Bowman said, “With the company working to emerge from Chapter 11 in January, I needed a partner here. [Steinberg] is more of a counselor and confidant, and this gives me an opportunity to utilize his wealth of knowledge to address situations as they arise, instead of having to schedule time with the corporate office.”

Since February, Bowman has been president and chief operating officer. He added the role of chief merchant in May.

Before joining Magnin, Bowman was senior vice president of Macy’s West, which he joined in 1990 as vice president of merchandising for men’s dress shirts, neckwear, furnishings, accessories, gifts and small leather goods. In 1992, he was named group vice president and director of stores for Macy’s California.

Magnin has been plagued by poor performance for a number of years and has not been profitable since Macy’s acquired it in 1989. Cicio, who was named chairman and ceo in September 1992, was charged with bringing it back to profitability, a goal the company said it was nearing.

Under his direction, the 12-store chain shored up its fashion offerings, strengthening its designer and bridge areas.

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