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Neiman Marcus Names Ralph Lauren Exec New CEO

The Neiman Marcus Group today announced a successor for Karen Katz, the company’s outgoing CEO.

Geoffroy van Raemdonck will assume the role after Katz steps down on Feb. 12.

Van Raemdonck comes to Neiman Marcus from Ralph Lauren where he served as group president for Europe, the Middle East and Africa and head of travel and retail. Prior to Ralph Lauren, he was CEO of St. John Knits for a year and held various positions at LVMH from 2008 to 2013, including president of south Europe and SVP of the Northern Region for Louis Vuitton.

Katz will vacate the CEO position at Neiman Marcus after three decades at the company, serving a variety of functions, though she will retain her board seat. News of her departure broke Thursday. Reuters reports Katz is eligible to earn about $2.5 million immediately upon her departure and another $1 million before March 14, 2019.

Van Raemdonck steps into Katz’s shoes after others had reportedly turned the job down.

He joins Neiman Marcus at a critical time as the company balances transforming itself into an omnichannel retailer with a new customer base with handling the burden of $5 billion in debt. Like its peers, the retail group has struggled to find its footing in the new retail landscape.

Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData Retail, was quoted by the publication as saying Van Raemdonck’s stint at St. John could provide Neimans with the wherewithal to attract the coveted young shopper. But he added, when it comes to the current turmoil at retail in general and at the company specifically, “There are no easy solutions to this, and it is unlikely van Raemdonck has any tricks up his sleeve to remedy the problem.”

Van Raemdonck will have the benefit of the company’s improved performance as well as its new inventory management system, which will allow it to use data more effectively and deliver goods closer to need.