Can a Macy’s “lifer” turn the ship around?

Macy’s recently announced that its longtime CEO will be stepping down soon, and passing the baton to his longtime second-in-command. I question (on RetailWire) whether the company needs a fresh pair of eyes as it faces unprecedented structural challenges:

Terry Lundgren has led Macy’s through a period of unprecedented change, in particular integrating the May Company brands into a truly national department store company and leading the industry in “omnichannel” initiatives. But Macy’s has lost its edge over the past couple of years — whether or not Mr. Lundgren is responsible — in essential areas of focus like merchandising, marketing and customer service.

Jeff Gennette has the challenge of stepping into the CEO chair at a difficult time for the company, and this is not the timing that Terry Lundgren might have had in mind for his succession plan. The question for Mr. Gennette is whether a Macy’s “lifer” (33 years) can also be a transformative leader at the point where the company is facing unprecedented risks to its business model.


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